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

Joy Gregory (ed.)


£60.00 GBP

Associate editor: Dr. Taous Dahmani

Shining Lights is 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. Seen through the lens of Britain’s sociopolitical and cultural contexts, the publication draws on both lived experience and historical investigation to explore the communities, experiments, collaborations, and complexities that defined the decades.

The innovative and diverse work created during this period spanned documentary and conceptual practices, including the experimental use of photomontage, self-portraiture, staged imagery, and photography in dialogue with other media. Shining Lights showcases the breadth of this work, illuminated by ephemera and archival material, historical essays, and roundtable conversations. First-hand experiences and critical reflections are provided by new writings by pioneers of the period, including Pratibha Parmar, Roshini Kempadoo, and Symrath Patti, alongside a foreword by Sonia Boyce. Taous Dahmani’s concluding essay provides a summary of key issues from an art historical perspective.

Amongst the fifty-seven photographers included are Maxine Walker, Ingrid Pollard, Claudette Holmes, Mohini Chandra, Carole Wright, Sutapa Biswas, Maud Sulter, Brenda Agard, Anita McKenzie, Mitra Tabrizian, Poulomi Desai, Virginia Nimarkoh, Nudrat Afza, Merle Van den Bosch, and Eileen Perrier.

Edited and researched by Joy Gregory, one of the period’s most influential photographic artists, alongside art historian Taous Dahmani, Shining Lights is an unparalleled contribution to the study of photography and the experiences of Black women artists.

OTA-bound paperback with linen spine
19.5 x 25.2cm, 448 pages

ISBN 978-1-913620-75-2
January 2024
€65 £60 $65

‘[Displaying] the best of photography by Black female photographers [this book] gives voice to the work of an underrepresented community.’ The Guardian  

Shining Lights is an impressive paean to those pioneering women who came before and created a myriad of magical images against a backdrop of social and political turbulence.’ DAZED

Shining Lights defies erasure. A Google search for many of these names yields limited results, telling us just how important this archive is for future generations.’ Aesthetica  

‘A constellation of rarely-seen stars finally take their rightful place.’AnOther

‘[In] the months after 9/11, [there] was a focus on the integration of Muslim communities in Britain; these girls, it seemed, playing pool, while gesturing toward the values of their parents, were feeling their own way toward what that meant.’ The Observer

‘The first critical anthology to bring together the ground-breaking work of Black women photographers active in the UK.’ The Los Angeles Review of Books 

‘[The book] resists pre-millennium Britain through the lens of 57 photographers, contextualised by illuminating essays and reflections.’ Creative Review

‘[Shining Lights] captures the rich breadth of work from this overlooked period and community.’ CNN 

‘[Shining Lights] draws on both lived experience and historical investigation to explore the communities, experiments, collaborations, and complexities that defined the decades.’ Juxtapoz Magazine

‘[Shining Lights] showcases the counterculture of photography that emerged, where new methods and ideologies were born, forever changing the otherwise sterile, largely homogeneous, face of photography.’ Musée Magazine

Featured in DAZED 

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