Duchess of Cambridge asks nation to send her their lockdown photographs as part of coronavirus pandemic project

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·4 min read
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 04: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits the Teagasc Animal & Grassland Research Centre at Grange, in County Meath, during day two of the royal visit to Ireland on March 4, 2020 near Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Aaron Chown - Pool/Getty Images)
Kate has launched the project to capture the hopes and fears during lockdown. (Getty Images)

The Duchess of Cambridge has asked the nation to send her their lockdown photographs to capture the spirit and mood of the country during the coronavirus pandemic.

The community project, launched with the National Portrait Gallery, will be called Hold Still, and will create a photographic portrait of life on pause, as people stay at home to protect the vulnerable.

It will also celebrate those who have continued to work to keep others safe.

Launching the project, which is open to anyone of any age, Kate said she wanted the portraits to represent all aspects of this time, from bravery and resilience, to human tragedy and hope.

Kate said: “We’ve all been struck by some of the incredible images we’ve seen which have given us an insight into the experiences and stories of people across the country. Some desperately sad images showing the human tragedy of this pandemic and other uplifting pictures showing people coming together to support those more vulnerable.

“Hold Still aims to capture a portrait of the nation, the spirit of the nation, what everyone is going through at this time. Photographs reflecting resilience, bravery, kindness – all those things that people are experiencing.”

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge holds a camera as she takes part in a a photography workshop with the charity 'Action for Children' in Kingston, southwest London on June 25, 2019. (Photo by Chris Jackson / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read CHRIS JACKSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Kate with a camera during a photography workshop with the charity 'Action for Children'. (Getty Images)

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Kate, who is a patron of the National Portrait Gallery, is asking entrants to focus on three themes - helpers and heroes, your new normal, and acts of kindness.

The project is open to all ages, and those who wish to submit a portrait are asked to write a short submission to accompany it, explaining the emotions and experiences of those in the picture.

The duchess will appear on ITV’s This Morning on Thursday to speak about the initiative.

The mother-of-three is a keen amateur photographer and most of the images released of her children for their birthdays are taken by her.

Britain's Prince William (C), Duke of Cambridge follows his wife Britain's Catherine (L), Duchess of Cambridge, as she holds a camera during their visits at the Kalash tribe village in Bumburate Valley in Pakistan northern Chitral District on October 16, 2019. - Prince William and his wife Kate flew near the Afghan border to visit a remote Hindu Kush glacier on October 16, after a morning spent trying on feathered traditional caps and luxurious shawls in Pakistan's mountainous north. (Photo by FAROOQ NAEEM / AFP) (Photo by FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP via Getty Images)
Kate with a camera during a visit at the Kalash tribe village in Bumburate Valley in Pakistan. (Getty Images)

She has been patron of the gallery in London since 2012 and the project was developed after she held talks with the director.

Kate has been struck by the images which have come from this unusual time, including one of two self-isolating grandparents putting their hands up to a window to touch their grandchild’s hand.

She was also touched by the image of a nurse showing the red marks and bruising on her face caused by wearing personal protective equipment during a 13-hour shift.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge and Prince Louis of Cambridge clap for NHS carers as part of the BBC Children In Need and Comic Relief 'Big Night In at London on April 23, 2020 in London, England.The 'Big Night In' brings the nation an evening of unforgettable entertainment in a way we've never seen before. Raising money for and paying tribute to those on the front line fighting Covid-19 and all the unsung heroes supporting their communities. (Photo by Comic Relief/BBC Children in Need/Comic Relief via Getty Images)
The Cambridges have been playing their part in the coronavirus response. (Comic Relief/BBC Children in Need)

Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery London, said: “Even if we are alone, we can all create something together. We are honoured to partner with the Duchess of Cambridge on the Hold Still project, which will provide an inclusive perspective on, and an important historical record of, these unprecedented times, expressed through the faces of the nation.

“The National Portrait Gallery reflects the history of Britain through the personal stories of the people who have helped to shape it. We are now inviting each and every person, across every city, town, village and home in the UK, to share their portraits with us in this unique collective endeavour.”

EMBARGOED TO 0001 THURSDAY MAY 7 Undated handout videograb issued by Kensington Palace of the Duchess of Cambridge being interviewed on ITV's This Morning, speaking about her new photographic project Hold Still.
Kate will appear on This Morning to talk about the project. (Kensington Palace)

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The Duchess of Cambridge and her family have been playing their part in the coronavirus pandemic response from their Norfolk home, Anmer Hall.

They revealed at the weekend that they had been making fresh pasta for delivery to vulnerable pensioners near their home, and have also launched a mental health project to support frontline workers.

The duchess will help to curate the entries, whittling them down to 100 which will then go on virtual display before touring the UK.

No professional equipment is needed, and those chosen will be based on the emotion conveyed, not the expertise of the photographer. It is free to enter.

The project opens from Thursday and runs until 18 June, with photographers asked to send their pictures via the National Portrait Gallery’s website.