Life in lockdown: Kate Middleton unveils 100 photos of how the world has coped under Covid for new National Portrait Gallery exhibition as the Queen says she is 'inspired' by images of 'such a challenging time'
Hold Still, a photography initiative launched by Kate with the National Portrait Gallery, attracted more than 31,000 entries from members of the public in just six weeks.
With the help of a judging panel comprising Nicholas Cullinan, director of the gallery; poet Lemn Sissay; Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England; and photographer Maryam Wahid, the Duchess whittled these down to 100 'finalists' whose work goes on display in a digital exhibition at www.npg.org/holdstill today.
Speaking in a video about the exhibition, Kate said: 'I felt really strongly that I wanted to try and create a portrait of the nation, that captures the fears and the hopes and the feelings of the nation at this really extraordinary time. As a record, I suppose, for the years to come.
'The thing that I think has struck me going through all of these images is how difficult and diverse everyone's experience of Covid 19 has been.
'No one story is the same, everyone's is unique. It's like a huge rollercoaster of emotions, but I suppose that's what everyone has experienced. It's a reflection of what everyone's been through at this time.'
As the exhibition went live on Monday, the Queen paid tribute to the resilience of the British public during the pandemic and praised those who had submitted a portrait.
She said: '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.'
The 100 images selected include:
1: The Look Of Lockdown
By Lotti Sofia. Location, London
Lotti says of the image: 'This is my lockdown pal, Pepter. Lockdown has forced a large majority of us into mandatory stillness. We've felt lonely, sad, worried, confused, anxious and everything in between, but we are grateful for every key worker, our health and for the humanity and empathy that has grown out of this dreary time.'
By Grey Hutton. Hackney, London
Grey says: 'I met Sami on his first day volunteering at a food bank in Hackney. Sami, who is from Sudan, had just moved into an apartment overlooking the food hub. He saw what was happening below, and came down to lend a hand. It's everyday acts of kindness like his that have brought communities together through this crisis.'
3: Everyday Hero Richard
By Arnhel de Serra, London
Arnhel says: 'When I drove past Richard I had to do a double take, as I couldn't believe he was out on his postman's round in fancy dress. Given the doomsday scenario that the media were portraying in the early days of the Covid 19 pandemic, I felt very strongly that here was a man who had something positive to offer his community.'
4: Never Without Her Grandma
By Melanie Lowis, Teddington, south-west London
Melanie says; 'Millie, five, made a cut-out of her much-loved grandma. Millie sees grandma almost daily and lockdown prevented the pair from seeing each other. When lockdown ends, and the real grandma can return, it will be a very emotional reunion.'
5: Thank You
By Wendy Huson, Liverpool
'Wendy says: Our little girl, Amelia, has Down's syndrome. I made her a very simple nurses outfit and then took the picture in our kitchen to celebrate International Nurses Day. We wanted to put a special post on her social media accounts thanking all of the nurses for the amazing work they do every day and especially during the Covid 19 pandemic.'
6: Holding Tight
By Katy Rudd and Joe Wyer, Redhill, Surrey
Katy and Joe say: 'This photograph was taken on the commemorations of VE Day on May 8. During lockdown we couldn't see our family or friends. On VE Day, we had a picnic and our neighbours did the same. Lockdown had been hard, but it had brought our community together.'
Other works included are This is What Broken Looks Like by Ceri Hayles, Glass Kisses by Steph James and Forever Holding Hands by Hayley Evans.
The Queen has said she was 'inspired' by the results of a photographic lockdown project led by the Duchess of Cambridge.
Kate and a panel of judges selected 100 images from more than 31,000 entries for the Hold Still digital exhibition, which launched with the National Portrait Gallery in May.
People of all ages across the UK were invited to submit a photo which they had taken during lockdown, and in the six weeks that the project was open 31,598 images were submitted.
Among the images shared with the Queen were The Look Of Lockdown by Carlotta Cutrupi, which evokes feelings of isolation, and Everyday Hero - Richard by Arnhel de Serra, which celebrates the work of a Royal Mail worker.
Hold Still focuses on three themes - helpers and heroes, your new normal and acts of kindness - with the final 100 tackling subjects including family life in lockdown, the work of healthcare staff and the Black Lives Matter movement.
One entry shows a woman during an anti-racism protest holding a banner which reads, 'Be on the right side of history' while another sees Captain Sir Tom Moore give a thumbs up to the camera.
The Hold Still initiative aimed to capture and document 'the spirit, the mood, the hopes, the fears and the feelings of the nation' as the UK dealt with the coronavirus outbreak.
Judges on the panel included England's chief nursing officer Ruth May, director of the National Portrait Gallery Nicholas Cullinan, writer and poet Lemn Sissay and photographer Maryam Wahid.
Kate previously said she had been 'so overwhelmed by the public's response to Hold Still, the quality of the images has been extraordinary, and the poignancy and the stories behind the images have been equally as moving as well'.
The panel assessed the images on the emotions and experiences they convey, rather than on their photographic quality or technical expertise.
A selection of the photographs will be shown in towns and cities across the UK later in the year.
The digital exhibition can be viewed at npg.org.uk/holdstill