Royal wedding photographer: Meghan brings 'breath of fresh air'
The photographer who captured the first intimate portraits of the newly married Duke and Duchess of Sussex has said he believes the bride will have a "huge" impact on attitudes toward diversity.
"I think with Meghan and the position that she's in, it's just another fantastic reminder, a wake-up to everybody, that we are all one people and it's a fantastic breath of fresh air to the English royal family," fashion and celebrity photographer Alexi Lubomirski told CNN.
"And I think it's just evolved them one step further, they are moving with the times, which is great, and yeah, it's wonderful."
Kensington Palace released three of Lubomirski's portraits as official wedding photographs on Monday.
They were taken after Prince Harry wed Meghan Markle in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle on Saturday, witnessed by millions watching live television around the world.
Lubomirski said he was thrilled to be asked to photograph their wedding, having previously taken their engagement portraits at Frogmore House.
The newly married couple were joined by senior royals including the Queen and Prince Philip as well as their 10 page boys and bridesmaids for the portraits in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle.
Lubomirski said he wanted to inject an air of informality into the images, while still working within certain boundaries.
"It's a historical document but it's also the royal family and it's the monarchy and there's this lineage aspect. But within those walls we wanted to try and twist it a bit, we wanted to just give it a little flavor of the couple, and that meant authenticity, love, family," he said.
"I wanted the shots to be very familial, which meant I didn't want them to feel like they were in a school photo where everyone lines up. I wanted it to be broken, I wanted some asymmetry in there, I wanted children on laps of parents, and I wanted it to feel like a family picture."
Lubomirski explained how he had a trick up his sleeve to help him keep the bridesmaids and page boys -- all under eight years old -- on side after overhearing someone promising them Smarties, a kind of candy, before they came into the grand room for the shoot.
"As soon as their attention span started to wane, I used the Smartie trick," he said. "I said 'who likes Smarties?' and everyone raised their hands and all of a sudden there were big smiles, and so that was the shot."
There was a real family atmosphere in the room between the shots, he added, just like any other wedding. "Brothers were talking about speeches, grandparents were talking to grandkids, some children were crying, uncles and aunts were chatting. It was like a typical family reunion."
'All the ingredients'
Lubomirski said the newlyweds were about to return to their reception when he asked them to take one more photo on the steps of the castle's East Terrace. The results were magical.
"Look at the ingredients and you realize it's just such a blessing of a job because you walk into the Rose Garden and the sun is setting over the back of Windsor Castle, which is in the background. You have this incredible light, you have this couple who are in love, in their wedding attire, all the ingredients are there and you just have to press the button."
As for the wedding ceremony itself, Lubomirski, who was seated near the chapel door where Meghan entered, said that it felt like a "very intimate English wedding" as he looked across a sea of hats, until he looked up and saw the cameras above. "Then you realized ... it was billions of people watching," he said.
That the couple still managed to keep the environment "incredibly intimate" is a testament to how in tune with each other they are, he said. "They have such a sort of drive and direction together that this, all this circus that goes around it, is just noise for them that doesn't affect what their goal is."
British-born Lubomirski relocated to Botswana with his mother and stepfather when he was eight. As a young man he traveled to Peru before studying in the UK. He now lives in New York with his wife and two sons.
According to his website, Lubomirski studied under Mario Testino, the Peruvian photographer who took the official engagement photographs of Prince William and then-fiancée Kate Middleton in 2010.
In the course of his career, Lubomirski has shot covers for Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle and Architectural Digest as well as photographing the likes of Julia Roberts, Lupita Nyong'o, Gwyneth Paltrow and Charlize Theron.
He brought out his own book, "Diverse Beauty," in 2016 to champion diversity after becoming frustrated by fashion magazines' reluctance to use dark-skinned models.
On Monday, the esteemed snapper took to Instagram to reveal his "honor" at being asked to capture such an important occasion.
"This has been a beautiful chapter in my career and life, that I will happily never forget," Lubomirski posted alongside the black-and-white portrait of the couple taken on the steps of Windsor Castle.