Kate Middleton appeared effortlessly elegant today as she was joined by Prince William to launch a country-wide display of her lockdown photography exhibition by meeting one of subjects at Waterloo station.
The Duchess of Cambridge, 38, launched the Hold Still community photography project in May, and invited people of all ages, from across the UK to submit a photographic portrait which they had taken during lockdown.
The mother-of-three received more than 31,000 entries from members of the public in just six weeks and last month unveiled the top 100 images in a digital exhibition.
Portraits from the exhibition have now gone on show in 80 towns, cities and areas across the UK, bringing the stories of individuals and families during lockdown back to their communities.
The Duke and Duchess visited Waterloo in south London today to view one of the 112 Hold Still community exhibition sites, where they met Sami Massalami Mohammed Elmassalami Ayad, a volunteer at a community Food Hub in Hackney who features in one of the portraits displayed at the site (‘Sami’ by Grey Hutton).
Kate Middleton, 38, appeared effortlessly elegant today as she was joined by Prince William, 38, to launch her lockdown photography exhibition by meeting one of subjects
The Duchess wowed in a crimson coat during the visit to Waterloo station this afternoon to view a portrait from her Hold Still contest
The community exhibition has been put together with support from the Co-op and will see the 100 portraits exhibited for a period of four weeks on billboard and outdoor poster sites across the country, including at bus stops, in high streets and outside train stations.
Many of the portraits have also been displayed in the entrants’ hometowns with locations ranging from Belfast, Liverpool and Southampton to Blaenau Ffestiniog (Gwynedd), Oban (Argyll) and Thorpe Audlin (West Yorkshire).
One of the portraits ‘Melanie, March 2020’, taken by Johannah Churchill, has been recreated as a hand-painted mural in Manchester city centre.
All 100 portraits will also feature in a special exhibition hosted by the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire from 23rd October.
Feeling peckish sir? Prince William surprised diners in KFC at the London station as he waved to them through the glass window
Diners at the chicken shop at the busy commuter station appeared stunned to have been given a front row seat to the Duke and Duchess’ visit
The Duke and Duchess went on to travel to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital to speak to frontline workers including Joyce Duah, a specialist oncology pharmacist at the hospital, whose photograph ‘All In This Together’ was selected as one of the final portraits, and her two colleagues Amelia Chowdhury and Dipal Samuel who feature in the photograph.
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 Duke and Duchess visited Waterloo station this afternoon to see one of the images submitted to Kate’s Hold Still photography project during lockdown
The couple went on to meet with Sami Massalami Mohammed Elmassalami Ayad, a volunteer at a community Food Hub in Hackney who features in one of the portraits displayed at the site
Kate opted to wear a bold red coat for the occasion, and could be seen discussing one of the winning photographs on display in London with Prince William
The Duchess could be seen stepping out of a car on the way to Waterloo wearing a pretty floral face covering before she removed the mask
‘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 in September, 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.’
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.