In May, the Duchess of Cambridge got to announce a new thing with one of her favorite patronages, the National Portrait Gallery. Kate announced Hold Still, an open-entry photography competition for images related to the pandemic. Kate and a team of judges would select the 100 best photos and they would be included in a virtual gallery on the National Portrait Gallery’s site. Kate, an amateur photographer, was legitimately keen about it, and she even proudly showed off an email sent to the other judges, where she signed off with “C.”
Well, the top 100 images have been culled and selected from more than 30,000 submissions. The virtual gallery is up – go here to see. The images really are beautiful, some of my favorites are: family members looking at each other through windows (a popular theme); a pastor preaching to pews which are empty except for photos of his parishioners; a Tesco worker looking devastated; a little girl drawing a rainbow on the window; all of the portraits of nurses and doctors; a man in a suit, attending a virtual funeral. The Queen was quite taken with Kate’s project, and Her Maj released this statement:
“It was with great pleasure that I had the opportunity to look through a number of the portraits that made the final 100 images for the Hold Still photography project. 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. The Duchess of Cambridge and I send our best wishes and congratulations to all those who submitted a portrait to the project.”
I saw some tweets and conversation about how the Queen was embiggening Kate’s project, but I don’t know, I don’t really think it’s anything super-complicated. Kate worked on a project which turned out to be really cool and pretty moving, and the Queen acknowledged it.
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Today's the day! [sound on 🔊] • The Hold Still digital exhibition is now live and we are delighted to share with you the final 100 portraits selected from the 31,598 submissions! Visit our link in bio to discover the story behind #HoldStill2020 and read the incredible stories submitted by you, the public, during lockdown.
Introducing, the final 100 portraits.
The images present a unique record of our shared and individual experiences during this extraordinary period of history, conveying humour and grief, creativity and kindness, tragedy and hope.
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) September 14, 2020
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Kensington Royal social media.