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COVID-19: Kate launches Hold Still photo book bringing ‘poignant and personal’ lockdown stories to life

Written by on 28 March 2021

A book of 100 photographs illustrating the past year of the pandemic will serve as a “lasting record of what we were all experiencing”, the Duchess of Cambridge has said.

Launched by Kate and the National Portrait Gallery, Hold Still: A Portrait Of Our Nation In 2020, features images of key workers and people isolated from family and friends, as well as moments of joy.

Its publication follows the anniversary of the first national coronavirus lockdown on 23 March.

Matt Porteous. Handout image provided by Kensington Palace of the Duchess of Cambridge Image: Kate says the images are ‘powerful and poignant’. Pic: Kensington Palace

The Hold Still initiative invited people of all ages from across the UK to submit a portrait they had taken during the first lockdown.

From more than 31,000 images submitted, 100 portraits were chosen.

Writing in the introduction, Kate said the portraits illustrated a collection of “poignant and personal stories” from the past year.

Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020, a book of 100 photographs Image: The book will be available from bookshops and online from 7 May

“Through Hold Still, I wanted to use the power of photography to create a lasting record of what we were all experiencing – to capture individuals’ stories and document significant moments for families and communities as we lived through the pandemic,” she said.

“For me, the power of the images is in the poignant and personal stories that sit behind them.”

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“I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak to some of the photographers and sitters, to hear their stories first-hand – from moments of joy, love and community spirit, to deep sadness, pain, isolation and loss.”

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said: “The photographs submitted have helped to create a unifying and cathartic portrait of life in lockdown.”

Proceeds from sales will help support mental health and arts projects around the UK, and will be split between mental health charity Mind and the gallery.

Hold Still: A Portrait Of Our Nation In 2020 will be available from bookshops and online from 7 May.

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