Photographer Misan Harriman explains meaning behind Meghan and Harry’s symbolic black and white photo
It’s a tender moment frozen in time between two people deeply in love, choosing to share their elation with the world with one single picture.
When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they were expecting baby No.2, they chose to forgo royal tradition and instead forged a path of their own making, choosing to make memories interspersed with personal meaning.
The result is a beautiful yet simple black and white photo of Prince Harry gently holding his wife’s head as she lovingly looks into his eyes and touches her expanding baby bump.
The impact of the photo was immediate and soon royal watchers dissected it, looking for symbolism and meaning.
As a tribute to the late Princess of Wales, the couple made the announcement on the 37th anniversary of Diana announcing she was pregnant with Harry in 1984.
Meghan’s white dress is the same one that was made for her by Carolina Herrera when she was expecting big brother-to-be Archie.
A few hours after the photo was released, Harry and Meghan’s long-time friend and photographer Misan Harriman shared the image on his social media pages.
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!#remoteshoot #shotonipad #shotbymisan pic.twitter.com/3iSYjydVj9— Misan Harriman (@misanharriman) February 14, 2021
He had surprisingly revealed he had take the photograph remotely, with his iPad, from London.
Sharing the image on Twitter, Harriman 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!”
The significance of Harry and Meghan using Harriman is both of a personal nature and by taking a stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
To be the first black male photographer in British Vogue’s 104 year history to shoot a cover and the first black person to ever shoot a September issue cover for @britishvogue is an honour, but let’s be clear, this has @edward_enninful written all over it. pic.twitter.com/4Ka1xPltpa— Misan Harriman (@misanharriman) August 3, 2020
Harriman was the first black male photographer to shoot a British Vogue cover – and the first to shoot its famous September issue – in its 104-year history.
The cover, called “Activism Now: The Faces of Hope,” featured England soccer player Marcus Rashford and model Adwoa Aboah. The photographer worked with a predominantly black team on set, the Daily Mail reported.
Speaking to British Vogue after Harry and Meghan’s baby announcement, Harriman solemnly acknowledged the couple’s earlier miscarriage, saying: “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.”
The photographer explained the symbolism behind the now iconic shot: “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.”
The Nigerian-born photographer has photographed other celebrities, including actors Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett and Olivia Colman and singer Rihanna.
But his true passion appears to be his activist work, supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Harriman is also a mental health campaigner with an interest in dyslexia.
His most recent work includes BLM protests in London, catapulting him to global prominence. “Through my lens I have seen the beating heart of London,” Harriman told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in August, after his pictures went viral.