Thursday, 7 May 2020

UPDATED: Duchess Kate Launches Photography Project Capturing Bravery & Kindness

In collaboration with her patronage the National Portrait Gallery, the Duchess of Cambridge has launched a new photography project to reflect the sense of community, acts of bravery and kindness amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement about the effort called Hold Still, the Duchess 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."


Kate and the NPG are inviting people from all over the UK to submit a photo they have taken during these unprecedented times. The focus will be on three themes: Acts of Kindness, Your New Normal and Helpers and Heroes. One hundred will be ultimately shortlisted and feature in a digital exhibition later this year. Rather than focusing on the photographers technique, the judges are looking for images, snapshots and portraits which encompass emotion and feelings so many of us are experiencing during this time. Kate continued: "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."


In a video call with ITV's This Morning hosts Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, Kate discussed the project. Kate spoke about home schooling "George gets very upset because he wants to do all of Charlotte's projects. Spider sandwiches are far cooler than literacy work." Kate also joked about taking Louis' birthday photos "I should have taken a photograph of what I looked like after as well, luckily that wasn’t documented but I was pretty much, I looked like Louis at the end of those." Kate said the family hadn't used Face Time much before, but are availing of it to keep in touch with family.


Victoria Murphy reports:

'The palace described the project as “completely free and open to all ages and abilities,” adding that “Hold Still will serve to allow the nation to capture a snapshot of the UK at this time, creating a collective portrait of lockdown which will reflect resilience and bravery, humour and sadness, creativity and kindness, and human tragedy and hope.”
“Even if we are alone, we can all create something together,” Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery London, said. “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.”'

More from People:

'Kate, who is patron of the National Portrait Gallery, will take part in the curation of the exhibition, which she and the National Portrait Gallery hope to be able to show around the U.K. when the time and circumstances allow.
The collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery came from discussions between Kate and the museum. “It is something she is really driving,” a royal source says. “It focuses on the human story of lockdown and their experiences. It hopes to capture a moment in time.”
“It will act as a reminder of the significance of human connection in times of adversity, and that although we were physically apart, as a community and nation, we all faced and rose to the challenge together,” Kate's office says.'

The Mirror reports Kate selected several photos she found particularly moving as examples of images she's seen in recent weeks.

'Kate’s choices include a heartbreaking shot of intensive care nurse Aimee Gould’s face covered in red marks from PPE after a 13-hour shift treating sick patients at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital.
 Aimee, who shared the selfie online, wrote: “This is the face going through hell. This is the face full of pressure damage from wearing PPE for almost 13 hours a day. This is the face of someone who hasn’t seen their own family for nearly a month. “This is the face of someone who holds your dying family member’s hand, so they’re never alone.”
Another snap shows Ray and Theresa Cossey, both 81, in lockdown in Norfolk and their great-grandchildren Florence, three, and Edith, one, trying to touch them through glass.'

Aimee Gould's post laid bare the horrifying reality facing those on the front lines. The ICU nurse wrote:  "This is the face of an ICU nurse. This is the face of working 65 hours over the last 6 days. This is the face of reality. This is the face going through hell. This is the face full of pressure damage from wearing PPE for almost 13 hours a day. This is the face of someone who fears for her own health and all her colleagues, past and present. This is the face of someone putting their life on the line for your families. This is the face of someone who hasn’t seen their own family for nearly a month. This is the face of someone who holds your dying family members hand, so they’re never alone. This is the face of someone who is exhausted, but will continue to fight Covid-19. This is the face of someone who will carry on, no matter what. This is the face of someone who is proud to stand on the frontline with all key workers."


I imagine we'll see several images by the Duchess feature in the final exhibition. We've already seen references to the current crisis in Kate's photographs of her children. Below Louis creating a rainbow, a symbol of support from children all over the UK to NHS staff. We also see Charlotte delivering packages, including homemade pasta, to vulnerable people in Norfolk.


In January, it was revealed the Duchess had photographed two Holocaust survivors, Steven Frank and Yvonne Bernstein, with their grandchildren, for a new exhibition which brought together 75 images of survivors with their loved ones to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust. I thought Kate did a beautiful job with the portraits and look forward to seeing possible contributions for Hold Still.


Kate's summery yellow floral print dress comes from British brand Raey (with thanks to UFO No More). The piece is described as: "Adorned with a whimsical brown, light-green and pink tree print, Raey's yellow silk dress is ideal for a summery lunch date. It's made in the UK to a flowing, draped silhouette with a round neck and bracelet-length sleeves."


The dress is just sold out, but for those searching for alternatives, there's a plethora available across online retailers at the moment. Below the Margauz Midi Dress by a brand Kate's fond of Ghost, the Rixo Gemma dress and the Floral & Metallic Stripe Button Front Maxi Dress from Nordstrom.


It looks like Kate accessorised with her Catherine Zoraida Fern earrings. There are several very nice Repli-Kates for the earring available at Etsy.


Looking forward to seeing the results.

31 comments:

  1. Looking forward to seeing more pictures as this project comes to fruition. Great idea from the Duchess of Cambridge. Thanks, Charlotte.

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  2. Checked in before lights out here in South Carolina. What a great, uplifting way to end my day - thank you to anybody that was involved with this idea.

    You made my day!

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  3. Caroline in Montana7 May 2020 at 03:44

    Oh I love this!! She is so freaking adorable, love that the NPG is involved to document these historic events unfolding around us all. I really want to thank you Charlotte, this is somewhere i come for an escape and that’s even more important to me than ever. Thank you for your blog and for pulling us all together, would be interesting to do a demographic poll of your blog, I bet you have folks from Everywhere and you should be proud! I hope everyone is in continued good health. Will check back in tomorrow!

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  4. I don't think anyone should fault Kate during this pandemic for trying to reach out to her patronages in a meaningful way. I think she is doing a great job and her smiling face is being seen regularly. Bravo! And I completely "get" her wearing a new dress. This month is my birthday month and I ordered a new dress from my local dress shop to not only perk myself up but also to support it as it has had to go totally online. Hard for a small dress shop. I have even seen women in town who are coordinating their face masks with what they are wearing. Good for them!

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    1. I am one of those, I already own 6 or 7 masks in different colours and styles. If I have to wear one, I will make a statement.

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  5. Ih my goodness everybody
    In us photographer not just as good with the duchess but we can make it helping the healthcare workers to protect us

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  6. Zora from Prague7 May 2020 at 08:02

    I think this is a brilliant idea. Photography has such power of capturing the uniqueness of the moment, the emotion, the atmosphere. It is real, it can be comforting but also heartbreaking, drawing attention to different aspects of an individual's story. There is huge potential in this project; it can create a collection that will be a testimony for the future. For me, seeing photos from the past (e.g. WWII) is much more touching and revealing than just reading about that time. Kudos to Kate for helping to create this! I love that it is "open to all ages and abilities", so even kids can take part if they want to. Thank you for the post, Charlotte!

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    1. Well said Zora! This really is a brilliant idea, the emotion that pictures can evoke tell such compelling stories, especially in this historic moment that we are all experiencing.
      I am very moved reading Aimee Gould's post, it certainly is a living testament. What an opportunity for all who choose to participate to tell their story! You are right the potential of this project is huge on many levels. Can't wait to see how people will memorialize this moment in time. cc

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  7. Lovely and heartbreaking.

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  8. Lovely dress! 😍 Kate is quite the talented photographer; I’m glad she is doing this project with the NPG.

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  9. The link is not working, I can see only the coding of the video. :(

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    1. Hello Gaby, it should be working now :)

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    2. Now I saw the video embedded, but it says it is banned for copyright reasons. :(

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    3. Unfortunately it's been removed, I'll keep an eye out though.

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  10. I love this project! Kudos to the DoC 👏🏻

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  11. This is such a lovely idea and a great way to tie in her patronage at this time. To think in 10, 50 or 100 years people will reflect on these photos of life during a pandemic. I think we all noticed Kate hitting her stride at the beginning of 2020 but I can picture her working from home like the rest of us. Still in contact with people and organizations but just a room away from her kids.

    Thank you for keeping the blog running at this time. It has been such a bright light for me.

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  12. This is truly forward thinking. I thought, when I saw the pics of little Charlotte helping deliver food, about the photos of young Elizabeth in uniform before she ever thought of being queen. It is a wonderful initiative. Photographs of real people have also powerfully changed the world.

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  13. Great project! She looks relaxed and though I am not a big fan of yellow clothing this dress is very pretty and in silk I bet moves wonderfully.

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  14. Such a great idea to document this! She's a beautiful person, inside and out, and her sincerity shines through everything she says.

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  15. When I read abour Hold Still, it just reminded me why Kate clicked with me right from the start. This type of project just resonates with me. At a historic time like this it is easy to get so caught up in flattening the curve, saving the NHS and homeschooling the kids, and somebody needs to take responsibility to record this time. In a couple of years when we look back at April/May 2020 and it feels unreal, this collection will be so valueble.

    On a different note, I just love to see DIY Kate on these video calls, no stylist, hairdresser or professional makeup. She is still an incredibly beautiful woman, but it is nice to be reminded that the picture perfect princess we normally see with the bouncy blow-out is thanks to the help of some professionals. It makes my hair envy slightly less.

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    1. This is such an amazing point. :) Of course, her natural beauty shines through, and more than that, the grace and gravitas she has come into after nearly ten years in the role -- all that, combined with a genuinely kind heart. However, one reason that I love seeing pics from Kate's earlier life is to remind myself of the power that a little polish can bring. Yes, she has access to professionals who do the polishing for her, but it also inspires me to see what I can do when the occasion calls for it.

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  16. What a wonderful project! Also, I'm not sure I'd ever heard Kate say Louis's and George's names before. They sound ever so elegant coming off of her tongue! Much more so than what my American mind hears when it reads those names.

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  17. We are making history right now, so I think documenting this time in pictures is a fine idea! The images shown so far are very symbolic of what we have been experiencing the world over. It will be a good exhibition to visit in the future.
    I love the soft yellow of Kate's dress and her down to earth talk about taking Louis's pictures with the rainbow of colors.

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  18. What an amazing idea.A picture Speaks a thousand words. The Duchess is doing a fantastic job for the county. The Queen must take great comfort in her grandson's choice of wife as a future Queen of Britain. She looked very relaxed going live on breakfast tv. Her confidence is growing as is our admiration of her.

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  19. Tammy from California8 May 2020 at 01:55

    Oh man how I wish this print came in top! I love this!!

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  20. I think Kate looks wonderful and I absolutely love this project!! We need something like this to inspire and unite us in remembering this historic moment. On another topic, while I love the ability of the royals to adjust to life in lockdown and their use of videos to communicate, and being able to peek into their homes and see more of their personal sides, after seeing Charles and Camilla honor VE day with their two minute silence, I long for the time when we will see the royals out and about again. I don't know if it is appropriate to share this Charlotte, but think that today's commemoration of VE day was poignant and worthy of noting. I think the Brits are the best at honoring their fallen.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-8300507/Duchess-Cornwalls-touching-letter-darling-father-VE-Day.html

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    1. Thank you for sharing. It's been a deeply moving day and so important to mark the day no matter how different the circumstances. I'll have a post a bit later :)

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  21. Lovely, lovely lady. How proud your country must be to have such fine people as your representatives.

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  22. Looking forward to seeing some of these images. Hope there will be an exhibition eventually. Absolutely wonderful idea and hope other countries will do the same,

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  23. Kate has shown how wonderful a Queen She will be. Charlotte thank you for all the work you do for us. It is such an extraordinarily difficult time I send my love to you and all your followers. Stay safe. With my love Donna

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