By Ben Makori
LONDON, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Misan Harriman hopes to encourage
employers to cast the recruitment net more widely with his Vogue
cover portrait of influential Black activists in place of the
usual pouting stars.
Footballer Marcus Rashford, who helped force a UK government
U-turn on children's meal vouchers, and Adwoa Aboah, a model and
mental health campaigner are featured with the banner "Activism
Now, The Faces of Hope" on the front of the fashion bible.
For Harriman, the first Black male photographer to shoot a
UK Vogue cover, the picture is "really of this moment",
reflecting a summer of protest for social justice following the
death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
It was Harriman's pictures of London's Black Lives Matter
movements that brought him to the attention of UK Vogue
editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, himself the first Black person
to lead the magazine.
Vogue needed to change in the wake of the protests and the
coronavirus pandemic, Enninful told the BBC, and that is what
led to Harriman's cover for the September issue.
"You couldn't just sell, you know, beautiful clothes and
shoes when the world was going through such a crisis," the
Leafing through the magazine in his garden, Harriman said he
felt cover stars Rashford and Aboah represented both hope and
empathy and reflected on his own achievement.
He is the first Black man ever to shoot a Vogue cover after
Nadine Ijewere became the first Black photographer to shoot a
cover when she did the January 2019 issue.
"If you’re looking for a talent in a non-diverse place then
it doesn’t matter because you’ll never see the talent," he said
in an interview.
"So I think you have to cast the net wide. I’m not the only
black photographer - there are thousands, hundreds of thousands,
of amazing black photographers out there."
The September issue traditionally sells more copies as
fashions shift from summer to winter. Last year it was
guest-edited by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and featured
influential women on the front.
(Writing by Sarah Young, additional reporting by Hanna Rantala;
editing by Philippa Fletcher)