Amid the worldwide pandemic caused by the COVID-19, the Duchess of Cambridge joined forces with her patronage National Portrait Gallery and launched a new community photography project- “Hold Still“. Completely free and open to all ages and abilities in the UK, “Hold Still 2020“ is an ambitious artistic project to create a unique photographic portrait that will capture a snapshot of the UK amid the lockdown when people are staying home to fight against the Coronavirus. The project showcases the lives of those who have put everything on hold to help protect our NHS – and the reality of everyday life on the frontline helpers.
About the Project Palace said,
“Whilst many people’s lives are on hold to help protect our helpers and heroes, there are some that are working harder than ever, and others that are enduring the upheaval of hardship and loss. Hold Still will capture a snapshot of the people of the UK at this time, creating a collective portrait of our nation which will reflect resilience and bravery, humour and sadness, creativity and kindness, human tragedy and hope as we hold still for the good of others, and celebrate those who have continued so we can stay safe.
For 164 years, the National Portrait Gallery has existed to tell the stories of the people of Great Britain through the medium of portraits. In these unprecedented times, it is now more important than ever that we find ways to document and share our individual and collective stories of an experience which has impacted everybody’s lives in a multitude of ways.”
The artistic project came after the UK became the first country in Europe to record 30,000 deaths from the coronavirus yesterday, announcing 649 more victims. Now at a total of 30,076 dead because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the UK has hit the grim milestone before either Spain or Italy, which were widely considered to have the worst outbreaks in Europe.
The Duchess and the National Portrait Gallery has asked the Brits to submit photographic portrait, taken by their ownself during these extraordinary times, which respond to one of the following themes:
- Helpers and Heroes
- Your New Normal
- Acts of Kindness
Images must involve people and can be captured on phones or cameras. Each image will be assessed on the emotion and experience it conveys rather than its photographic quality or technical expertise. The closing date for submissions is the 18 June 2020.
Among all the submitted pictures, 100 shortlisted portraits will feature in a gallery without walls – a one of a kind digital exhibition open to all this August. The Duchess of Cambridge will personally curate the 100 shortlisted portraits.
Speaking about Hold Still, Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery London said, “Even if we are alone, we can all create something together. We are honoured to partner with the Duchess of Cambridge on the Hold Still project, which will provide an inclusive perspective on, and an important historical record of, these unprecedented times, expressed through the faces of the nation“.
Duchess of Cambridge participated in an online interview to ITV’s Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby at This Morning to spoke about the project and her motivations for utilising photography to capture a portrait of a nation. From DailyMail,
On the launch of Hold Still, The Duchess said: ‘We’ve all been struck by some of the incredible images we’ve seen which have given us an insight into the experiences and stories of people across the country. Some desperately sad images showing the human tragedy of this pandemic and other uplifting pictures showing people coming together to support those more vulnerable.’
‘Hold Still aims to capture a portrait of the nation, the spirit of the nation, what everyone is going through at this time. Photographs reflecting resilience, bravery, kindness – all those things that people are experiencing.’
Among her favourites are a five-year-old girl called Eaddee who wears a painted rainbow face for the NHS, 79-year-old Jack Dodsley dancing with a health worker at Newfield Nursing Home in Sheffield, grandparents greeting their grandchildren from the other side of a window, and Nottingham ICU nurse Aimee Goold.
Duchess herself is a keen photographer. Every year we have seen many of her shots marking the birthdays and other big days of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis of Cambridge. Palace recently released the birthday portraits of Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis that were taken by Catherine.
In the interview with ITV, Duchess also talked about the pictures of two Holocaust survivors with their grandchildren that she took as part of the commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust.
The interview gave us some candid tidbits of Cambridge life at Anmer Hall in Norfolk where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are currently residing with their three kids – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. As kids are on off from school and being homeschooled, Duchess joked that “George gets very upset because he just wants to do all of Charlotte’s projects. Spider sandwiches are far cooler than literacy work'”.
Duchess also joked about Prince Louis’ birthday portraits that we recently saw. She said, “I should’ve taken a photograph of what I looked like after as well! Luckily, that wasn’t documented but I was pretty much, I looked like Louis at the end of those.”
The Duchess of Cambridge shares an insight into homeschooling Prince George and Princess Charlotte as she talks to @Schofe and @hollywills about her new photography project, #HoldStill2020 with @npglondon
For details of how to get involved, head to our app! pic.twitter.com/alR4SHk2Tt
— This Morning (@thismorning) May 7, 2020
Catherine also talked about doing Face time, ” It’s really hard. We hadn’t done a huge amount of FaceTime and calls but it’s actually been really great to check in with family about news and things like that. But it is difficult, it’s hard to explain to a five, six-year-old about what’s going on.” When Holly asked Duchess how she is coping, Catherine said, “Fine, thank you. It’s extraordinary. I’m sure you’re experiencing the same yourselves and your families and things. We have stuck into homeschooling again. They are unprecedented times really. But no we’re fine, thank you for asking”.
Catherine, who studied art history at St Andrew’s University, is the Patron of the National Portrait Gallery since 2012 and has a lifetime honorary membership of the Royal Photographic Society. She became the patron of the Royal Photographic Society in 2019.
In the interview video, we can see Duchess looking radiant in a yellow dress from another new brand. She was wearing Raey Acid Tree-print Silk Dress. Thanks to HeavenQRF on Twitter for the id. Raey is a Notting Hill based British high street designer and its the first time we have seen wearing any of their pieces. Since her dating years, we have seen Catherine championing the small labels of Britain. Her iconic engagement dress was a high street product.
It was described as, “Adorned with a whimsical brown, light-green and pink tree print, Raey’s yellow silk dress is ideal for a summery lunch date. It’s made in the UK to a flowing, draped silhouette with a round neck and bracelet-length sleeves. Keep accessories to a minimal to embrace the label’s pared-back aesthetic. “
The lemon toned £495 yellow dress that went on sale for £148 before selling out was a stunning choice for the online event.
Duchess paired the outfit with her Catherine Zoraida Gold Fern Hoop Earrings.
The Court Circular noted that the Cambridge couple was working on Wednesday too. “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this morning talked to residents and staff at a Royal British Legion Care Home, Mais House, 18 Hastings Road, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, via video link”.