Autograph, London

Book Launch
Shining Lights: Black Women Photographers in 1980s-90s Britain

Thu 22 Feb || 6:30 - 8pm

Past event

Join us to celebrate the launch of the first critical anthology bringing together the work of Black women photographers active in the UK during the 1980s and 1990s



Rivington Place
London EC2A 3BA, UK

past event

This event is now closed. View our current event here


Join us to celebrate the launch of Shining Lights: Black Women Photographers in 1980s-90s Britain, the first book dedicated to the Black female photographers and artists who shaped the cultural landscape of the UK at the time.

We are delighted to have partnered with the independent arts publisher MACK, and artist Joy Gregory as editor to bring together this is vital cultural history, much of which has been underrepresented and unarchived.

At the launch Joy Gregory will say a few words alongside Autograph’s director Mark Sealy. There will be a drinks reception and the opportunity to purchase the book.


Shining Lights: Black Women Photographers in 1980s-90s Britain


Buy online

about the project

Shining Lights: Black Women Photographers in 1980s-90s Britain

The first critical anthology to bring together the groundbreaking work of Black women photographers active in the UK during the 1980s and 1990s, providing a richly illustrated overview of a significant and overlooked chapter of photographic history.

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about the editor

Joy Gregory

Celebrated for her pioneering work on self-identity and auto-portraiture in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Gregory’s intimate engagement with ideas around blackness, femininity, and beauty is epitomised in her seminal series Autoportrait (1989/90). Autograph’s first artist commission, the series was a direct response to the lack of representation of black women within lifestyle consumer magazines. 

Her subsequent body of work Objects of Beauty (1992-1995) delved into questions of aesthetics and body politics, combining the Victorian process of kallitypes to capture a range of objects often associated with feminine beauty and constraints of Western fashion industry. Similarly, themed artistic investigations continued with series such as Girl Thing (2000-2005), Cinderella Tours Europe, (1997 – 2001), and Fairest, (1998/2010). Gregory has worked and exhibited widely both in the UK and internationally and participated in numerous biennales and festivals over the years, including the 2017 Venice Biennale where her work was represented in the off-site Diaspora Pavilion. Recent works include Overlooked and Underreported (2017), Coloured Girls (2018), Home (2018), The World is a Handkerchief (2019) and Barbie at Sixty (2019-20). Alongside the continuation of a long-term project in the Kalahari and several collaborative projects in development, Gregory has recently completed a commission for the Black Cultural Archives Breaking Barriers (2019-20). Her work is represented in the collections of Autograph, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Arts Council Collection, UK; The Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia; and Yale British Art Collection, USA.

You can follow Gregory on Instagram, and see more work on her website.

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photographers in shining lights

Nudrat Afza, Brenda Agard, Jananne Al-Ani, Margaret Banton, Jennie Baptiste, Sabera Bham, Zarina Bhimji, Sutapa Biswas, Mohini Chandra, Lisa Cheung, Xenia Demetriou, Poulomi Desai, Suki Dhanda, Lola Flash, Joy Gregory, Leslie Hakim-Dowek, Mona Hatoum, Claudette Holmes, Laxmi Jamdagni, Tara Jang, Joy Kahumbu, Mumtaz Karimjee, Roshini Kempadoo, Maria Kheirkhah, Chila Kumari Burman, Maria Luiza Melo Carvalho, Anita J. Mckenzie, Marcia Michael, Sherlee Mitchell, Jacqueline Moran Daubercies, Henna Nadeem, Glynis A. Neslen, Virginia Nimarkoh, Pratibha Parmar, Bharti Parmar, Amina Patel, Symrath Patti, Maria Pedro, Eileen Perrier, Cristina Piza, Ingrid Pollard (MBE), Samena Rana, Suzanne Roden, Zineb Sedira, Anna Sherbany, Marlene Smith, Veena Stephenson, Delta Streete, Maud Sulter, Annette Sylvester, Mitra Tabrizian, Menika Van Der Poorten, Merle Van Den Bosch, Maxine Walker, Sharron Wallace, Geraldine Walsh, and Carole Wright.



Everyone is welcome at Autograph. Planning a visit? Have a look at our Visit Us page to find out more about getting to the gallery, accessibility and more.


Accessible VEnue

Autograph welcomes people with all types of disabilities.


limited tickets

This is an intimate event with a limited amount of tickets. We highly recommend booking in advance.


Step free

Our building and entrance is step free. A wheelchair accessible lift goes to all floors.


Shining Lights is co-published by MACK and Autograph, London and is edited by Joy Gregory.
Autograph thanks Taous Dahmani for her role as associate editor, all of the contributors, and the team at MACK.

Banner image: Cover of Shining Lights: Black Women Photographers in 1980s–90s Britain. Co-published by Autograph and MACK, 2024.

Images on page: 1) Eileen Perrier, Untitled from the series Afro Hair and Beauty Show, 1998. 2) Joy Gregory, 2021. Photograph by Sunil Gupta. 3) Autograph. Photograph by Zoë Maxwell.