Smarties are the English counterpart to the beloved M&Ms in the United States. The candy of that same name is also well known and loved in the US, but the American brand is a tart candy disk, packaged in rolls, and a favorite in Halloween trick-or-treat buckets. The English Smarties are milk , covered by a hard candy shell, but in different colors than the familiar M&Ms so loved by Americans, and naturally without the stamp of the letter M (for chocolatiers Mars and Murrie) on every tasty morsel.
Alexi Lubomirski has been well known in the fashion photography world for some time, particularly for his work in capturing exotic, beautiful women in their unique essence, and not in the stereotypical conventions of beauty.
Lubomirski is a Polish prince “in name only,” as he was told at age nine by his mother, and when a good friend of Meghan Markle’s learned that Lubomirski would be in London around the time of the engagement announcement, she suggested, “you should meet Alexi– he‘s wonderful.” Well, the rest, as they say, is history.
The photographer’s warm and exquisite engagement portraits of the couple have become cherished worldwide, and the artist calls the photographs some of the “easiest” of his career because the between Harry and Meghan pulsed through every image. Alexi also forged a natural bond between the betrothed and himself because of growing up in Botswana and having the same love for the African nation.
Being commissioned as the royal wedding photographer heaped quite a lot more history and pressure on Lubomirski’s tall shoulders.
The engagement session had been conducted before the official news of the nuptials, but this would be part of British and American history for all eternity, and many more people, including the Queen herself, would be the subject of these pictures. As it turned out, Alexi Lubomirski used his daddy skills in getting just the right moments on camera and discovered that Smarties held magic power.
Weeks come down to minutes
Just like the royal family themselves, Alexi Lubomirski left nothing to chance on the big day. The photographer was also a guest of the couple at the wedding and quickly dashed from St. George‘s Chapel to the assigned areas for the shoot, which he and his assistant had meticulously arranged. One of the most endearing captures was the broadly-smiling Prince Harry, with his bride draped beside him on the steps. That image was truly a moment when Lubomirski said, “Sit down right here,” and the natural glow just happened, including the loose tendrils of Meghan’s hair adding to the beauty.
When it comes to the royal portraits including Her Majesty, however, every split second matters. Lubomirski had studied the wedding portraits of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip all the way to Prince William and Kate, and he wanted to bring something “different” but still not too “out there” for the family treasury. The idea of “family” kept running through his head, and he had only 25 minutes for six pictures. He confessed on “CBS This Morning,” on May 25, that he never even looked at the screen until after the entire session was done, relying on his assistant to signal the precise framing. Lubomirski was absorbed with “getting the kids to look.” He dubbed the experience of finally seeing the pictures “quite emotional.”
Donned in green and glowing smiles
“I‘m not one of those artists who forces my vision on people,” relates Lubomirski. “I want them to be seen.” Now, eyes across the globe have seen the royal wedding portraits, with both mothers of the bride and the groom in resplendent shades of green. The most divine feat is that the Monarch of the British Empire is seated and offering quite a natural smile. Saying “now, ma‘am, let‘s try a grin,” would certainly be considered completely insubordinate. Alexi credits that genuine, content expression to the children, and his antics to get the youngest of the wedding party, from age two through 10, to smile. There was no need to call in one of her corgis.
The ever more mindful portrait master overheard giggles over being offered “a Smartie,” so he ran with that idea, improvising with an instantaneous question, “Who likes Smarties?” and eliciting the beaming responses of “Me!” from all ages. Even in a royal pitch, candy can work wonders. Despite the rush, Lubomirski describes that “it was like a family room at any special occasion. It was a beautiful sight.” Messages are cramming the Inbox and phone of the most sought-after photographer now, hoping he can create similar “beautiful sights” for blissful couples. Start the candy runs to the store now.