Podcast: Waltz with Fate—Photographer Misan Harriman


When you have had as momentous a year as our guest, photographer Misan Harriman had in 2020, you should shout it from the rooftops. However, on this episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, Harriman offers us nothing but humility and gratitude for the work he has done, including creating the September 2020 cover photographs for British Vogue and the powerful images he made at Black Lives Matter marches in London.

Harriman left us inspired, and we are happy to share this conversation, supported by Leica Camera. Sweet drops like, “Our ancestors are whispering to us every time we press the shutter” and “…there’s no small talk in black-and-white” are the icing on the cake of a wonderful conversation about his work and workflow. Harriman reflects on his love for image making but also speaks about coming to photography relatively late in life and maintaining confidence despite “imposter syndrome.” He advises photographing what you know and love before you dip your toe in deeper waters. We also talk about keeping your head above those deep waters when you are offered incredibly important assignments, such as the triple gatefold cover with twenty portraits for British Vogue, the first cover photograph by a black man in that magazine’s history.

With Harriman we also discuss portrait work and minimizing technical distractions to focus on the “exchange of humanity.” This concept serves for portraits taken remotely as well, as his noted portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex demonstrates. Remote photography apps are mentioned, as is his workflow during BLM protests, including a dogged devotion to black-and-white and using up to five cameras with longer prime lenses for intimacy and safety. Harriman provides us with much to consider, from thoughts on why we should photograph to how to economize using L-mount gear. Join us for this engaging episode and please leave us a comment below.

Guest: Misan Harriman

Photograph © Misan Harriman

© Misan Harriman
© Misan Harriman
© Misan Harriman
© Misan Harriman
© Misan Harriman
© Misan Harriman
© Misan Harriman
© Misan Harriman
Damson Idris and Daps, 2020 © Misan Harriman
Kingsley Ben-Adir, 2020 © Misan Harriman
Emeli Sandé, 2020 © Misan Harriman

Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: John Harris
Senior Producer: Jason Tables
Executive Producer: Shawn C Steiner


This was, by far, the best episode of the B&H Podcast I've heard. Listening, one quickly realizes that you guys are speaking to someone special. Mr. Harriman is a rare gift, a profoundly wise soul engaged in meaningful work, taking nothing for granted. I could listen to that voice all day.
And such photos! The "Damson Idris and Daps" shot looks like a candid, but even if it were staged, the perspective and composition have me puzzling (in a good way). How did he DO that? That guy is floating in the background?
In the moment, on-air, Allan recognized that this interview was going all kinds of good places. His audible sense of amazement was part of the joy.
I've been telling even my non-photography friends that they simply must check out this episode. Thank you for introducing us to Mr. Harriman.

Thanks so much for the comment Artie, couldn't agree more. Misan is a great evangelist for the power and value of art and photography and the conversation was a gem. Thanks again for listening and for the feedback.