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Raphael Albert (1935-2009) was born on the Caribbean island of Grenada. After moving to London in the 1950s, he studied photography at Ealing Technical College whilst working part-time at Lyons cake factory. Albert then became a freelance photographer working for black British newspapers like West Indian World. He was often employed to take photographs of black British beauty pageants, and in 1974 he established the Miss Teenager and Miss West Indies in Great Britain contests. He organised and photographed pageants celebrating black British beauty throughout the 1960s and 1970s. A 2007 exhibition brought new appreciation of his work as a form of social documentation and a record of black British style. He remained committed to celebrating the Caribbean communities in his London area throughout his life, often taking home-studio portrait photographs for local people.


Raphael Albert, Untitled, circa 1960s, from the portfolio 'Black Beauty Pageants'. Museum no. E.317-2013.  © Raphael Albert/ Autograph ABP/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Raphael Albert, Untitled, circa 1960s, from the portfolio 'Black Beauty Pageants'. Museum no. E.317-2013. © Raphael Albert/ Autograph ABP/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Raphael Albert, Untitled, circa 1970s, from the portfolio 'Black Beauty Pageants'. Museum no. E.316-2013. © Raphael Albert/ Autograph ABP/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Raphael Albert, Untitled, circa 1970s, from the portfolio 'Black Beauty Pageants'. Museum no. E.316-2013. © Raphael Albert/ Autograph ABP/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Raphael Albert, Untitled, circa 1970s, from the portfolio 'Black Beauty Pageants'. Museum no. E.311-2013.  © Raphael Albert/ Autograph ABP/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Raphael Albert, Untitled, circa 1970s, from the portfolio 'Black Beauty Pageants'. Museum no. E.311-2013. © Raphael Albert/ Autograph ABP/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Raphael Albert, 'The Harder They Come', circa 1970s, from the portfolio 'Black Beauty Pageants'. Museum no. E.312-2013. © Raphael Albert/ Autograph ABP/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Raphael Albert, 'The Harder They Come', circa 1970s, from the portfolio 'Black Beauty Pageants'. Museum no. E.312-2013. © Raphael Albert/ Autograph ABP/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Raphael Albert, 'Miss Black & Beautiful',circa 1970s, from the portfolio 'Black Beauty Pageants'. Museum no. E.314-2013. © Raphael Albert/ Autograph ABP/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Raphael Albert, 'Miss Black & Beautiful',circa 1970s, from the portfolio 'Black Beauty Pageants'. Museum no. E.314-2013. © Raphael Albert/ Autograph ABP/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Raphael Albert, Untitled, circa 1960s, from the portfolio 'Black Beauty Pageants'. Museum no. E.313-2013.  © Raphael Albert/ Autograph ABP/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Raphael Albert, Untitled, circa 1960s, from the portfolio 'Black Beauty Pageants'. Museum no. E.313-2013. © Raphael Albert/ Autograph ABP/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Raphael Albert, 'Beauty Salon', circa 1960s/70s, from the portfolio 'Black Beauty Pageants'. Museum no. E.315-2013.  © Raphael Albert/ Autograph ABP/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Raphael Albert, 'Beauty Salon', circa 1960s/70s, from the portfolio 'Black Beauty Pageants'. Museum no. E.315-2013. © Raphael Albert/ Autograph ABP/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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