Born into a middle class family from Kavala, Harissiadis studied chemistry in Lausanne. Foreign illustrated periodicals and books inspired his interest in photography. He began his career as a photographer on the Albanian front in 1940 when, as a reserve officer, he depicted the life of his fellow soldiers and their dramatic advance into Northern Epirus.
Later, because of his language skills, he was transferred to Athens, where he recorded the difficult conditions that prevailed during the Axis Occupation.
As a European press correspondent he photographed the events of the "Dekemvrianá" and the Civil War. After liberation he was commissioned by foreign relief agencies active in Greece to photograph the arrival and distribution of American aid. Later on, the Ministry of Reconstruction commissioned him to record major public works and the country’s economic recovery. The optimistic quality of his photographs was partly dictated by the nature of this task.
Harissiadis was a founding member of the Greek Photographic Society in 1952, and between 1956 and 1985, in partnership with Dionysis Tamaressis, he ran the well-known photographic agency "D. A. Harissiadis". As a commercial photographer, he specialised in industrial photography and advertising. During the course of his career, he recorded the gradual industrialisation of Greece, the expansion of the shipping industry, the development of modern architecture and the country’s overall economic progress. Finally as a photographer for the National Theatre of Greece, he contributed to the creation of a valuable visual history of the Greek theatre.
Throughout his professional career, Harissiadis maintained a personal interest in photographing Greek towns, landscapes and everyday life in agricultural and urban surroundings, believing that mankind was "the most interesting subject in the world." The predominantly American influences that can be detected in his work are the result of his association with foreign photo agencies and his familiarity with international trends in photography. The artistic value of his work was internationally recognised at a very early stage and he was the only Greek photographer to participate in the major exhibition entitled "The Family of Man", which was held in New York in 1955. He also took part in a number of exhibitions, two of which were "Greece by Eleven Photographers" (Chicago, 1957) and "The face of the European" (Munich, 1959). His balanced, often abstract composition, his faultless technique, his sense of humour and optimism combine foreign influences with a Greek aesthetic sensibility, adding up to a very personal style.