Kate came up with the idea for “Hold Still,” a project she hoped to capture the country’s experiences of COVID-19 through photographs.
Launched in May, in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, they received over 31,000 images in six weeks. Kate and a jury then selected 100 photographs which have now been exhibited in an online digital gallery.
In a gallery launch message, the Queen said: “It was with great pleasure that I had the opportunity to browse a number of portraits that made up the final 100 images of the Hold Still photography project.
“The Duchess of Cambridge and I were inspired to see how the photographs captured the resilience of the British people at such a difficult time, whether celebrating frontline workers, recognizing the community spirit or showing the effort people who support those in need. ”
Among the six images Kate shared with the Queen were The Look Of Lockdown by Carlotta Cutrupi, which evokes feelings of isolation, Everyday Hero – Richard d’Arnhel de Serra, which celebrates the work of a Royal Mail employee on showing dressed in fancy dress on her round, and Merci taken by Wendy Huson, showing her daughter Amelia, who has Down syndrome, wearing a nurse outfit to celebrate International Nurses Day.
Hold Still focuses on three themes that capture and document the way the UK has handled the pandemic, including Helpers and Heroes, your ‘new normal’ and acts of kindness. The final 100 images touch on topics such as family life on lockdown, the work of healthcare workers, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Judges on the panel included Ruth May, Director of Nursing England, Director of the National Portrait Gallery Nicholas Cullinan, writer and poet Lemn Sissay and photographer Maryam Wahid. Each image was chosen based on the emotions and experiences they conveyed, rather than their photographic quality or technical expertise.
Kate previously said of the project that she had been “so overwhelmed by the audience’s response to Hold Still, the quality of the images was extraordinary, and the touching character and the stories behind the images were just as moving”.
A selection of photographs will be shown in cities across the UK later this year. The digital exhibit can be viewed at npg.org.uk/holdstill