The Queen had only good remarks for the images featured in the digital display HOLD STILL, saying it perfectly captures the ‘resilience’ of Britons.
Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, just launched a photography project in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery to capture a “portrait of a nation” during the recent global pandemic. It was a resounding success, with over 31,000 submissions, from which only 100 have been selected that will be on display in a special virtual exhibition.
For the launch of the exhibition, the Queen had written a message, telling the entrants: “The Duchess of Cambridge and I were inspired to see how the photographs have captured the resilience of the British people at such a challenging time, whether that is through celebrating frontline workers, recognising community spirit or showing the efforts of individuals supporting those in need.”
Kate also shared some of the portraits that feature in the exhibition with the Queen. “From virtual birthday parties, handmade rainbows and community clapping to brave NHS staff, resilient key workers and people dealing with illness, isolation and loss. The images convey humour and grief, creativity and kindness, tragedy and hope – expressing and exploring both our shared and individual experiences,” reads an introduction to the exhibition.
The exhibition features some photographs that really capture some of the most heartfelt and pure moments one can experience in their life. In one of the photographs, titled Be safe Daddy x shows a young girl cuddling her father before he heads off for a night shift as a paramedic. Another photograph, Empty, has a young boy sitting in a supermarket trolley against the backdrop of completely empty shelves. One of the most touching photographs features a newborn baby meeting his mother for the first time through a mask and protective screen, being simply titled The first kiss.
Other photographs include Shielding Mila, which shows a little girl seeing her father through a window as she is isolated from him due to having chemotherapy. Another, Franck’s fight, shows five-year-old Franck having his chemotherapy treatment at home during the lockdown.
Another powerful photograph of a protestor called Akuac, taken during a Black Lives Matter protest at the US Embassy in London, is also included. “I hope that the new normal after Covid-19 is kindness, equality, compassion, love,” the photographer Anastasia Orlando writes.
“Hold Still gives a snapshot of life during the lockdown, documenting the nation’s experience of this extraordinary time,” the Duchess says in a short video, which also features a recording of one of the lines from the Queen’s historic address to the nation: “I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any.”
You can check out the ‘Hold Still’ exhibition yourself online at www.npg.org.uk