The Duchess of Cambridge unveils final 100 pictures for ‘Hold Still’ plus letter from Queen

After launching in May, the final 100 pictures for the ‘Hold Still’ exhibition have been announced by The Duchess of Cambridge. The campaign saw over 31,000 submissions, with the Countess of Wessex contributing her own photograph.

The Duchess of Cambridge, who is a keen photographer, launched the project with the sole aim to show life within the UK whilst the country was on lockdown. Catherine partnered with the National Portrait Gallery, of which she is Patron, for the campaign.

Rainbow Reflection: A rainbow is an arch of colour, visible in the sky, caused by refraction and the reflection of the sun’s rays on water droplets. Seven vibrant colours make up a rainbow and each one is unique. Rainbows have been placed in the nation’s windows to show solidarity with those key workers who are putting themselves on the frontline while tackling the effects of Covid-19. Key worker jobs are varied, just like the vibrant colours in the rainbow. Each individual is unique but when we work together, we convey a message of inclusion, hope, promise and peace. Diversity is beautiful.

The Duchess of Cambridge was joined by Nicholas Cullinan (the director of the National Portrait Gallery); Lemn Sissay (writer and poet); Ruth May (the chief nursing officer for England) and the photographer Maryam Wahid for the judging panel.

Her Majesty has shared her own message, posted on social media channels alongside the chosen portraits.

Where’s Grandpa?: The moment when Gaby could embrace her grandmother for the first time, together with her mother Vanessa, a month after her grandfather Kevin FitzGerald died from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) at the Royal Brompton Hospital on 19 April 2020. ‘Where’s Grandpa?’, they whispered as they cried.

“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.”

Akuac: This is Akuac. I met her at Black Lives Matter protest at the U.S Embassy in London and asked to take her picture, so she took off her mask and stood for me. We’ve been friends since and I hope we will be for many years to come. Her strength and spirit is beautiful and unique. For me, the image reminds us that all of ours are. Every single one. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. The countless others that we know of and that we don’t.  I hope that the new normal after COVID-19 is kindness, equality, compassion, love. I hope the new normal is really seeing what’s important-looking after each other and the planet. If this pandemic has taught us anything it must be that all we need really is the wellbeing of our loved ones.

The final 100 photographs include people meeting and spending time with family, whilst socially distancing themselves. A portrait of Sir Captain Tom Moore, the war veteran who raised money for charity leading up to his 100th birthday is also featured in the selection of photos.

The photos also show workers who are on the frontline, dealing with the long hours spent at work and away from families, as well as images from Black Lives Matter protests across the country. All photographs chosen for the final 100 explore three themes: Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal and Acts of Kindness.

Captain Tom Moore: Captain Sir Thomas Moore completed 100 lengths of his garden before his 100th birthday to raise money for NHS charities. Having captured the public imagination, the total he eventually raised was over £32m. In recognition of his achievement, Moore was given the honorary title of colonel on his birthday and was awarded a knighthood by Her Majesty The Queen.

All 100 photographs can be found on the National Portrait Gallery’s website.

Which photograph is your favourite from the final 100?

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