Hold Still: UK lockdown caught on camera


image copyrightSarah Lee
image captionJoe and Duke Brooks, captured during lockdown, a few days before their 18th birthday – by Sarah Lee

Members of the public were invited to send pictures taken during the recent national lockdown for an online photography exhibition entitled Hold Still.

The images explore three themes: Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal and Acts of Kindness.

The community project, led by the Duchess of Cambridge – patron of the National Portrait Gallery – received more than 31,000 entries.

The final 100 images were selected by a panel of judges, including the duchess, Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery, writer and poet Lemn Sissay, Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, and photographer Maryam Wahid.

Here is a selection of those on show, alongside insights from the photographers:

Annemarie Plas, Founder of Clap for our Carers, at the final clap – by Amanda Summons

image copyrightAmanda Summons

“Annemarie Plas is both the founder of Clap for our Carers and a Dutch yoga teacher living in south London. Inspired by a similar initiative in her homeland, she instigated the weekly clap on a Thursday night. It was to show appreciation for NHS workers and carers fighting the pandemic on the front line.

“She told me her favourite part about the initiative was personally getting to know her neighbours, like many of us across the country.”

We always wear a smile – by Jill Bowler and Trevor Edwards

image copyrightJill Bowler and Trevor Edwards

“We always want our residents at our dementia nursing home to know we are smiling under our masks.

“We have had to learn new ways to communicate with our residents during the pandemic, as the mask is so restrictive and that comforting smile has been hidden. We all still smile and want it to be as visible as possible.”

Shielding Mila – by Lynda Sneddon

image copyrightLynda Sneddon

“After trying to find an alternative solution, we took the difficult decision to isolate in different households to protect Mila, who, at this point, was only four months into her chemotherapy journey for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

“As Mila’s dad, Scott, had to continue to work and her big sister, Jodi, had to attend school, we could not risk the possibility of infection being brought home – so they would visit every day at the window.

“After seven weeks of temporary separation, and after being furloughed from his job, Scott was reunited with Mila. Looking back, I’m so proud of my daughter and how far she has come – the level of resilience Mila has shown during this unprecedented time is truly remarkable.”

Prayers for our community – by the Reverend Tim Hayward and Beth Hayward

image copyrightThe Reverend Tim Hayward and Beth Hayward

“When it was announced church buildings were to be closed to the public to reduce the transmission of the virus, I wanted to assure our community that, although we couldn’t gather physically, their photos in church were a symbol that they, and their loved ones, were still very much in our thoughts and prayers.”

At the end of a shift – by Neil Palmer

image copyrightNeil Palmer

“This is a studio portrait of Tendai, a recovery and anaesthetics nurse, who was born in Zimbabwe, and now lives in my local town – Reading, Berkshire.

“I wanted to portray her caring side, as well as a look of concern and uncertainty that many of us have experienced during this pandemic. It’s why I chose a lower than normal angle and asked her to look off-camera, placing her halfway down in the frame.”

Stockport Spider-Men bringing smiles to children in lockdown – by Jason Baird

image copyrightJason Baird

“The Stockport Spider-Men was started by two friends, Jason Baird and Andrew Baldock, who took to the streets of Stockport right at the start of lockdown dressed as Spider-Man, and used their daily exercise time to keep the children smiling. This turned into a national phenomenon, with more than 50 members of the public, dressed as various other characters, joining in.

“Jason also set up a JustGiving fund for the NHS Charities Together; in the four months of lockdown, he raised over £60,000 for the real superheroes – our wonderful NHS.”

Empty – by Julie Thiberg

image copyrightJulie Thiberg

“This was just before lockdown happened, when I took my son shopping. I happily got a big trolley and was surprised at how easy it was to get a parking space, only to find the superstore completely empty – only a few oils, spices, clothes and toys were left.

“As a parent, I probably experienced silent panic, and a fear that this type of shopping would be the new normal. I decided to take the picture to remember a unique day that would be the start of a long and challenging time.”

School – by Marcela

image copyrightMarcela

“During lockdown, my mum had to become a primary school teacher for my brother. This moment captures one of the few times my brother was eager to do his homework. Through this photograph, I wanted to convey a warm feeling of when family is together.”

Tony Hudgell’s 10k walk for Evelina London – by David Tett

image copyrightDavid Tett

“This is Tony Hudgell, a five-year-old patient at Evelina London Children’s Hospital. He walked a total of 10km throughout June on his new prosthetic legs, to thank the hospital that saved his life.

“He had been learning to walk again. After seeing Captain Tom Moore on the news walking lengths of his garden, Tony said: ‘I could do that’, and he decided to set his own challenge. He set out to raise £500, but ultimately raised over £1.2 million for NHS charities.”

Your New Normal – by Julie Aoulad-Ali and Kamal Riyani

image copyrightJulie Aoulad-Ali and Kamal Riyani

“My daughter, Sarah, is showing her house-bound grandfather the 12-week scan photograph of her first baby. She had the scan a few days earlier and drove to her grandparents’ house so she could stand outside and show it to them.”

Lockdown Wedding – by Donna Duke Llande

image copyrightDonna Duke Llande

“We had to cancel our wedding because it was obvious it would have been impossible for it to have gone ahead. It didn’t feel right, though, to not enjoy the day when it came around. So we dressed up with our children and celebrated together. It was a fun and memorable day and it kept a positive spin on what could have been viewed as a depressing situation.”

Glass Kisses – by Steph James

image copyright Steph James

“My one-year-old little boy and his 88-year-old great grandma, who miss each other so much at the moment. I captured this beautiful moment between them whilst dropping off groceries. Kisses through glass.”

The Hold Still digital exhibition is available to view online at www.npg.org.uk/holdstill from 14 September 2020.



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