Duchess Kate is turning her ‘Hold Still’ COVID-19 community photo project into a book

Following the success of her COVID-19 community portrait project “Hold Still,” Duchess Kate of Cambridge and the U.K.’s National Portrait Gallery are turning the 100 winning photos into a book.

“When we look back at the COVID-19 pandemic in decades to come, we will think of the challenges we all faced – the loved ones we lost, the extended isolation from our families and friends and the strain placed on our key workers,” the duchess wrote in an introduction for the book, due in May.

“But we will also remember the positives: the incredible acts of kindness, the helpers and heroes who emerged from all walks of life, and how together we adapted to a new normal. 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.”

Kate, 38 and a photography enthusiast, launched the project with the National Portrait Gallery last May, seeking a way to allow people in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic to share their stories and experiences. Out of the more than 31,000 entries, 100 winners were chosen, some of which were displayed online and on billboards or outdoor posters across the United Kingdom as a pull-together effort during lockdown.

“From photographs of NHS staff caring for those battling the virus, to families sharing tender moments through closed windows, each of the images gave an insight into what others were going through during this unprecedented time,” Kate wrote. “For me, the power of the images is in the poignant and personal stories that sit behind them. 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.”

“Hold Still: A Portrait of Our Nation in 2020,” includes all 100 winning images and their accompanying stories, plus highlights from the community exhibitions. It will be available online and in U.K. bookstores on May 7, the one-year anniversary of the project’s launch.

An excerpt from the book shows one of the entries to the Hold Still project.

Proceeds will be split between U.K. mental health charity Mind and the National Portrait Gallery’s educational and community programs.

“A common theme of those conversations was how lockdown reminded us about the importance of human connection and the huge value we place on the relationships we have with the people around us,” she added. “Although we were physically apart, these images remind us that, as families, communities and a nation we need each other more than we had ever realized.”

Contributing: Maria Puente

And:Duchess Kate, in rare interview, hopes to ‘share a moment in time’ with coronavirus photo project

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