Today, the Duchess of Cambridge shared a video message to encourage Brits to participate in her ‘Hold Still’ 2020 project. Spearheaded by the Duchess, the Hold Still 2020 is a photography project run by Catherine’s patronage National Portrait Gallery and was launched by the Duchess in May this year.
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. At the time of the launch, 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
So far the project has received 12000 submissions from the British Nationals. 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
Speaking from her country residence, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk, The Duchess of Cambridge said,
There have been so many amazing entries to Hold Still over the last few weeks. From families up and down the country showing how they are adapting to life during the lockdown, through to some of the most amazing NHS and social care staff who are putting their lives on the line to save the lives of others.
But it isn’t too late to take part.
So please take a moment to capture what life is like for you, because together I hope that we can build a lasting illustration of just how our country pulled together during the pandemic.
I can’t wait to share the final 100 images with you.
Duchess herself is an amateur but a skilled 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 released the birthday portraits of Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis that were taken by Catherine. Recently we see a family picture taken by the Duchess to mark the volunteer week.
Images submitted to the project 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. The images received so far have been showing the amazing spirit of the country during the lockdown. From chaotic family rooms to the sleeping NHS workers, pictures are full of emotions. This picture titled ‘Working from home’ by Roseangela Borgese features a working dad with his back to the camera while in the foreground a toddler lies sprawled on the ground surrounded by toys.
The project received a special entry from the Royal house too. CountessSophie submitted an image of a volunteer at the Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking, Surrey. Titled ‘Packed with love’ the image taken on the Countess’s phone shows Ali Abbas, 26, who helped to establish the mosque’s food parcel delivery service for NHS workers, people self-isolating and other families in need during the Covi-19 outbreak. Palace caption said, “Ali’s smile captures the enthusiasm for helping others that is so evident amongst the volunteers.”
The Rumble Online on Twitter noted that The Duchess of Cambridge has been personally commenting on few of the entries of her Hold Still 2020 project on social media. The comments are signed off with ‘C’. It’s the first time we saw Catherine’s comment on Social media.
With one week before the entry window closes for the ‘Hold Still’ project, The Duchess of Cambridge shares some of the amazing images and stories that have been submitted so far.
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) June 11, 2020
Continuing with the video Palace shared another clip, in which Catherine is showing some of the pics that she has selected from the entries. Showing a picture of a little girl singing, The Duchess said,
I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everybody who has taken part and contributed to Hold Still. I’ve seen some amazing images and I just wanted to share some of those images with you today. The first image I wanted to share with you is this one, which I think is fantastic and I think a lot of families out there can probably relate to this which is sweet. A little girl in the background trying to sing out let us go.
The second pic Duchess showed is called ‘Distance Gaming’. Catherine described the picture as” and this ingenious six years old girl is here photographed with her granny playing a game I think noughts and crosses look like. But what a great idea!“
Showing the third picture of a group of musicians playing she said, “This was another great image I thought and shows how the communities are coming together. I think it shows such a fun idea. It’s shame there is no audio to go with this one.” The last picture of a frontline worker behind the mask was described as an “Emotional” by the Duchess. She said,” And this last image I think is hugely moving and very emotional and I think the name says a little already – The man behind the mask. We must not forget the human side and the reality of what sort of key workers and those on the frontline are going through this time“.
One hundred shortlisted portraits will be selected by the Duchess personally to feature in a gallery without walls – a one of a kind digital exhibition open to all. Participants are also encouraged to provide a short written submission to outline the experiences and emotions of those depicted in their photograph. This picture titled ‘Life Goes On by’ was submitted by Matthew Williams in which a hospital worker decked out in full PPE is holding a newborn baby. 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.”
This picture of the oldest resident of Badgeworth in Gloucestershire, shared by Katherine is titled ‘ A New Way of Celebrating’. He is celebrating the 75th anniversary of VE day on his drive so that he could be surrounded by his friends and neighbours at a distance. As the village wanted to celebrate and honour his dedication to the community with this portrait of him. From Mirror’s report,
A senior palace source said: “The Duchess has been inspired by many of the amazing feats accomplished by so many people that have brought Britain together. From incredible fundraiser Captain Tom to the daily bravery of our NHS workers. The overriding aim of the project is to bring together an unofficial national archive of the crisis, what has touched our everyday lives, the heroes behind the stories and images.
The Duchess’s choices merely act as inspiration for the categories – anyone with a camera or a phone can enter and the aim is to get as many people involved as possible. The hope is it will create a unique photographic portrait of the people of our nation as we hold still for the good of others, and celebrate those who have continued so we can stay safe.”
Another lovely shot was chosen by the Duchess to highlight the Project. It was taken by Stacey Leanne Connell of her six-year-old son who created the Union Jack with finger paints and a pillowcase. The picture has a rainbow handprint to show the support to the NHS on VE Day. You can participate in the project by clicking here. Check out a few of the various entries project has received so far. NPG shared some tips on how to click the pictures. Schools are encouraged to enter their pupils’ work. Click here to participate in the beautiful initiative.
⭐️ CHALLENGE 7: ARTS ⭐️ HOLD STILL.
As part of the @NPGLondon‘s exciting ‘Hold Still’ project, launched by @kensingtonroyal The Duchess of Cambridge, we’re asking people to submit photographs which capture the mood, hopes, fears and feelings of the nation. #HoldStill2020 pic.twitter.com/y8d9poHI0m
— Centrepoint (@centrepointuk) June 9, 2020
Prince William’s patronage Centrepoint has asked the people to submit the pictures as part of their Challenges.
For the video call, the Duchess of Cambridge brought back her Stella McCartney Cady Dress that she first wore for a visit to the National Portrait Gallery in July 2012. It is Catherine’s one of the most worn dresses. Last time we saw the dress in 2016.
Since the beginning of the work from home period due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Duchess of Cambridge has been working from her country residence Anmer Hall at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate where she has been isolating with husband Prince William and their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Since the last week of March, we have been seeing the return of Catherine’s many old dresses.
It has initiated an interesting conversation on Twitter where Catherine and her style team is maintaining her wardrobe. We saw her wearing her Roksanda Ilincic Ryedale Dress in the video message to the Australian frontline workers, her L.K. Bennett Silk Madison Dress for a game of bingo with the seniors, Altuzarra Aimee Polka-Dot Button-Front Dress in the video call to the nurses, Boden Aurora Midi Wrap Dress for a call to the Maternal Mental health experts and to mark the VEday.
I believe Catherine has been maintaining her old dresses at the Country residence and when she moved there in March, she might have brought some of the new pieces with her, hence the return of the old pieces. But it’s lovely to see such stunning numbers back into the limelight.
The Court Circular has another engagement entry. The Duchess of Cambridge, Joint Patron, the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, this afternoon spoke to pupils from Waterloo Primary Academy, Blackpool, Lancashire, via video link. We might see the video of this call tomorrow or day after tomorrow.
In other news, a mini-parade will be held at the Windsor Castle to mark the Queen’s official birthday. The Queen will be taking a salute from 1st Battalion at the Windsor Castle on June 13. The public is requested not to attend and respect the social distancing guidelines. Whether the members of the Royal Family will be attending or not is not confirmed yet.