The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, took to Instagram yesterday and finally revealed the 100 winning portraits. These photographs are now available in a digital exhibition named Hold Still. Back in May, the Duchess had announced a community photography project. She encouraged people to click and share images, which portrayed their lockdown experience. Four months later, she finally announced the final shortlisted portraits.
Hold Still exhibition, About the project
The Duchess launched this lockdown initiative in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery. Hold Still – A portrait of our nation in 2020 invited the general public to share photographs, which reflected on their own experience. The portraits were meant to capture the spirits, the fears, the moods, hopes, and feelings of the U.K. as they dealt with the current situation. Each participant had six-weeks time to submit their photographs.
Public Response and Judges of the competition
The response to this project was huge. The public sent entries in large numbers. In total, the project received 31,598 submissions. On 29th August, the Kensington Royal Instagram page shared a post with a sneak-peak of selective images. Further, they shared a few details in the caption. Firstly, it informed the number of submissions received. Later, it read that they will be showcasing the final 100 portraits in a digital exhibition from Monday, 14th September.
The next day, the Instagram page shared another video introducing the judges’ panel. The video featured Kate on a video call with the judges: Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Nicholas Cullinan; writer and poet, Lemn Sissay MBE; Chief Nursing Officer for England, Ruth May; and 2018 Portrait of Britain Winner, Maryam Wahid.
The Queen’s Special Message
Shortly after the debut, Queen Elizabeth wrote a letter praising and appreciating Duchess Kate. The letter also contained a special message to all the participants in the event. Her Majesty said,
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. We send our best wishes and congratulations to all those who submitted a portrait to the project.
The portraits are now available to the public on the National Portrait Gallery’s official website.