Cannon Hill Park
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The first major solo exhibition of photographs by the late Raphael Albert – cultural promoter, entrepreneur and photographer.
For more than three decades from the late 1960s, Albert organised and documented numerous black British beauty pageants and other cultural events, while creating a portfolio of photographs of aspiring models in his home studio.
His long and successful career as a promoter and chronicler of pageants included the establishment of Miss Black and Beautiful, Miss West Indies in Great Britain, and Miss Grenada.
Raphael Albert (1935-2009) was born on the Caribbean island of Grenada. After moving to London in 1953, he studied photography at Ealing Technical College whilst working part-time at Lyons cake factory. Albert soon became a freelance photographer working for black British newspapers such as West Indian World – for whom one of his first assignments was documenting Miss Jamaica – as well as The Gleaner, Caribbean Times and New World.
In 1970 he established the popular Miss Black and Beautifulcontest, followed by Miss West Indies in Great Britain, Miss Teenager of the West Indies in Great Britain and Miss Grenada. In addition to his production company Albert Promotions, he also founded his own magazine Charisma in 1984, and the associated Albert’s Girl Academy of Modelling.
Original research and preservation of Raphael Albert’s archive was made possible by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2011.
Autograph would like to thank Bayeux Ltd for their ongoing support, especially Steve Vallis and the master printers who produced
the modern gelatin silver prints included in this exhibition. Special thanks to Pendragon Frames, Spectrum Photographic,
Genesis Imaging,Typographics EDT, Omni Graphics, ADI, Zoë Maxwell, Michael McMillan, Sybil Mclean, Gloria Bedeau,
Keri-Luke Campbell, and the volunteers who helped to preserve Raphael Albert’s archive over the years.
Banner Images: 1) Raphael Albert, Miss Black & Beautiful Sybil McLean with fellow contestants, Hammersmith Palais, London, 1972. From the portfolio 'Black Beauty Pageants'. Courtesy of © Raphael Albert/Autograph. 2) Raphael Albert, (unidentified) Miss West Indies in Great Britain, Hammersmith, London, late 1970s/80s. From the portfolio 'Black Beauty Pageants'. Courtesy of © Raphael Albert/Autograph. 3) Raphael Albert, Holly posing at Blythe Road, Hammersmith, London, early 1970s. From the portfolio 'Black Beauty Pageants'. Courtesy of © Raphael Albert/Autograph ABP.