Misan Harriman: Nigerian who played a role in Prince Harry, Meghan love story

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Prince Harry and Duchess of Sussex. Inset Misan Harriman
Misan Harriman: the self-taught Nigeria-born British photographer

By Mail Online writer

The portrait announcing that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were expecting their second child was captured by a Nigeria-born photographer, Misan Harriman, who had a ‘small part’ to play in their courtship.

Harriman, a long-time friend of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, took the black and white picture of the pair reclining under a tree on a sprawling lawn in Los Angeles remotely from London using an iPad.

The photographer, whose recent work includes photographs from the Black Lives Matter protests in London last year, later took to social media to congratulate the couple and described how he was there to ‘witness this love story begin’.

In a message on Instagram he wrote: ‘Meg, I was there at your wedding to witness this love story begin, and my friend, I am honoured to capture it grow.

‘Congratulations to The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on this joyous news!’

He tweeted the same message:

Speaking to British Vogue following the baby announcement, Mr Harriman said: ‘To be asked to help share this absolute joy after such an unimaginable loss and heartache is a marker of true friendship.

‘Meg reminded me that had I not introduced her to a mutual friend then she wouldn’t have met Harry.’I’m grateful for whatever small part I played.’

‘Meg reminded me that had I not introduced her to a mutual friend then she wouldn’t have met Harry.

‘I’m grateful for whatever small part I played.’

On how he captured the image, he said: ‘With the tree of life behind them and the garden representing fertility, life and moving forward, they didn’t need any direction, because they are, and always have been, waltzing through life together as absolute soulmates.’

Mr Harriman, who only became a professional photographer in 2016 following a career in finance, is the first black male photographer to shoot a British Vogue cover – and the first to shoot its September issue – in its 105-year history.

Misan Harriman as an activist

The activist-themed cover in 2020 featured England footballer Marcus Rashford and model Adwoa Aboah, with Mr Harriman working with a predominantly black team on set.

A year before, the Duchess of Sussex guest edited the September issue, which is traditionally the magazine’s most important of the year.

Mr Harriman’s work has also featured in Vanity Fair, Harpers Bazaar and People Magazine, a biography on his website states.

As well as Meghan Markle, the Nigerian-born photographer has pictured celebrities including actors Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett and Olivia Colman and singer Rihanna.

He is a self-described activist supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, as well as a mental health campaigner with an interest in dyslexia.

His recent work includes a series of photographs from Black Lives Matter protests in London, with many showing profiles of demonstrators holding signs advocating racial justice.

Speaking last August about the positive public reception to many of his BLM pictures, he told CNN: ‘Through my lens I have seen the beating heart of London.’

Many of the pictures taken at the protests were profiles of activists holding signs advocating racial justice.

Among them was a photograph of England youth hockey player Darcy Bourne outside the US Embassy, holding up a sign reading ‘Why is ending racism a debate?’

The photographer, who runs a media company called ‘What We Seee’, has also recently covered demonstrations against former US President Donald Trump, and protests by Extinction Rebellion.

In 2019, Mr Harriman also captured a black and white image of Princess Beatrice of York and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi to accompany the announcement of their engagement.

The practice of ‘remote’ photography has become more common since coronavirus restrictions have been in place. It often involves photographers directing someone else to take a picture through a video call.

This can be carried out either by pairing an iPad with another iPad using an app such as Camera Plus, Remote Shutter or WiFi Camera.

Another alternative is connecting an iPad with a camera with Wifi connectivity, where the camera will present a live view option on the iPad.

Last night a spokesperson for Meghan and Harry said: ‘We can confirm that Archie is going to be a big brother. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are overjoyed to be expecting their second child.’

‘The photograph of the Duke and Duchess was was taken by the couple’s longtime friend Misan Harriman. What wonderful news for the Sussexes!!’

Baby Sussex will be the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s 10th or 11th great-grandchild depending on whether he or she arrives before or after Zara Tindall’s baby, which is also due in 2021.

He or she will still be eighth-in-line to the throne – and the most senior royal in the current line of succession to be born overseas.

Harriman was born in Calabar, in 1977. He is the son of Chief Hope Harriman, the colourful Itsekiri chief, who died in 2012 at the age of 79.

The young Harriman attended Stubbington House School and Bradfield College in England. After school he worked in recruitment in the City of London.

He is a self-trained photographer, listing Moneta Sleet Jr, Charlie Phillips, Gordon Parks, Elliott Erwitt, Bruce Davidson, as his inspiration.

In a report by the London Guardian, Harriman mentioned as his point the messages he gets “from strangers who, seeing my story, are not afraid to try new career paths.”

Asked about his low point, he said: “Watching innocent young people die in the recent unrest in Nigeria and feeling helpless.”

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