Hold Still: Kate launches national portrait of Covid-19

A project, Hold Still, to collect photographs chronicling how Britain is dealing with the coronavirus and lockdown is launched today by  the Duchess of Cambridge and the National Portrait Gallery.

While many lives are on hold, others are working harder than ever, and many are suffering loss and upheaval, and the duchess, patron to the NPG, and the gallery are inviting  members of the public to submit photographic portraits taken during this extraordinary time, each with a short written descriptions of the circumstances of the image.

Main image shows Nurse Aimée Goold after a 13 hour shift caring for coronavirus patients © Aimée Goold

“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” the duchess said today. “Some desperately sad images showing the human tragedy of this pandemic and other uplifting pictures showing people coming together to support those more vulnerable. 

Five-year-old Eadee © West Midlands Ambulance Service

“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.”

Alexis and David Brett with nine of their sons and baby daughter © Peter Jolly

Sponsored by the law firm Taylor Wessing, Hold Still is free and open to all ages and abilities to help create a collective portrait of lockdown reflecting resilience, bravery, humour, sadness, creativity, kindness, tragedy and hope. Three core themes will be Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal and Acts of Kindness, and submissions can be made from today (Thursday 7th May) via: www.npg.org.uk/holdstill until the closing date, June 18. One hundred shortlisted portraits will then feature in a gallery without walls, a digital exhibition open to all, with a selection of images also being shown across the UK later in the year.

Jack Dodsley, 70, dances with a carer in PPE © Tom Maddick / SWNS

“Even if we are alone, we can all create something together” said Nicholas Cullinan, the NPG’s director. “The National Portrait Gallery reflects the history of Britain through the personal stories of the people who have helped to shape it. We are now inviting each and every person, across every city, town, village and home in the UK, to share their portraits with us in this unique collective endeavour.”


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