As part of a global effort to interpret a theme of “hope” across 26 editions, Vogue U.K. is putting the spotlight on the people effecting change across various fields and issues, from systemic racism to disability discrimination to gender inequality, in its September 2020 issue.
Titled “Activism Now,” the fold-out cover features 20 activists, photographed in black and white. It’s fronted by model and Gurls Talk founder Adwoa Aboah and professional footballer and philanthropist Marcus Rashford, shot by Misan Harriman (the first Black male photographer to lens a British Vogue cover, he noted on Instagram).
…“This month, all international Vogues, of which there are currently an impressive 26, are uniting to dedicate their September covers to one shared theme: hope. I knew instantly and deeply believed in what British Vogue’s interpretation needed to be — an ode to the extraordinary voices, old and young, who in this difficult year have devoted their energies to fighting for a fairer society,” he wrote.
Vogue photographer: ‘My images are about hope’
Christiane speaks with Misan Harriman, who made history as the first Black photographer to shoot the cover for British Vogue’s all-important September Issue.
I see the future right now as extremely uncertain but also filled with new questions and possibilities that I want to explore. Can’t say I’ll stay in Venezuela forever but part of me knows that I’ll always have a reason to come back. At least until it gets better. When it does, I’ll know for sure that I did my part.
I previously worked at an art gallery, La Plataforma, whose director, Claudia Costa, is Venezuelan. She always told me how much she yearned to go back, and that she’d love to grow old there because it’s a tropical paradise. I guess it’s a shared feeling among those who lived there long enough before everything collapsed… Do you have any memories of a better time in Venezuela?
I think all Venezuelans share the nostalgia. The ones who left and the ones who stayed too, because the country’s collapse has been so steady that even us who are still here struggle to recognize what we’ve become. I think we all feel estranged. I think many of us are homeless in that sense, like we don’t have a home to go back to. And this idea is heartbreaking because there’s no other feeling like the safety of feeling at home. We all lost that.
I think at its core, that is the Venezuelan struggle: us trying to find a way back to better times. That’s the ending that I’m waiting to photograph for Paradise Lost. Whenever it feels honest to say that Venezuela is doing better – that it is safe to go home.