By Lori Perkins
It’s easy to miss the news that the future queen of England spent some of her pandemic lockdown editing photos for an illustrated book and exhibit on how the British population coped with COVID-19 amidst all the drama of Meghan and Harry and Oprah and the passing of Prince Philip. But this was quite a queenly thing to do, IMHO, and one I am sure her mother-in-law resoundingly approved of.
Hold Still consists of portraits and interviews with English people during the pandemic that fell under the rubric of Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal and Acts of Kindness.
According to the Holdstill website (where you can see the digital exhibit) 31,000 people entered their stories to be included in this exhibit/book during the lockdown months of May and June.
Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge, is the Patron of the National Portrait Gallery, so she was tapped to spearhead the project, which was envisioned as a “community project to create a unique collective portrait of the UK during lockdown.”
The website states, “the final 100 [portraits] present a unique and highly personal record of this extraordinary period in our history. From virtual birthday parties, handmade rainbows and community clapping to brave NHS staff, resilient keyworkers and people dealing with illness, isolation and loss. The images convey humour and grief, creativity and kindness, tragedy and hope – expressing and exploring both our shared and individual experiences.”
The photographs were also on display across the UK in autumn of 2020 as part of a special community exhibition, and can be seen in a digital exhibition on the grounds at the National Memorial Arboretum.
The hardcover book, which will be published on May 7th, includes an introduction form the Duchess of Cambridge.
Visit the website here to see the exhibit: https://www.npg.org.uk/hold-still/