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Kate Middleton 'overwhelmed' by lockdown photo project as she selects final images

The Duchess of Cambridge launched Hold Still in May

kate middleton holding camera
Jenni McKnight
Jenni McKnightUS Lifestyle Editor
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The Duchess of Cambridge admitted she was "overwhelmed" by the response to her photography lockdown project after selecting the final images to be featured in a digital exhibition.

Kate was joined by a panel of judges to select only 100 images from over 31,000 submissions made to Hold Still, the community photography project she launched with the National Portrait Gallery in May.

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The Duchess invited people of all ages across the UK to submit a photo that they had taken during lockdown, aimed to capture and document the spirit, the mood, the hopes, the fears and the feelings of the nation as we continue to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

Kate said: "I’ve been so overwhelmed by the public’s response to Hold Still, the quality of the images has been extraordinary, and the poignancy and the stories behind the images have been equally as moving as well.

Judging Panel

The Duchess was joined by a panel of judges (Photo: Kensington Palace)

"So I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has entered and taken part. And a big thank you to my fellow judges. I hugely appreciate the time and dedication that they have shown towards the project."

Judges on the panel included England’s chief nursing officer Ruth May, director of the National Portrait Gallery Nicholas Cullinan, writer and poet Lemn Sissay and photographer Maryam Wahid.

Gimba   the Ward Host By Hassan Akkad

'Gimba - the ward host' by Hassan Akkad is just one of the final images chosen

Speaking with the judges during a virtual chat, Kate said: "I just want to reflect on, I suppose how we first came to think of the idea and why we chose to do this photography project.

"I think we all really felt, and I particularly felt, really strongly that I wanted to try and create a portrait of the nation that sort of captures the fears and the hopes and the feelings of the nation at this really extraordinary time, as a record I suppose for years to come.

Were really lucky to have a Garden By Robert Coyle

'We're really lucky to have a garden' by Robert Coyle is another chosen image

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"The quality of the images has been extraordinary really and the poignancy and the stories behind the images I think have been equally moving as well."

Prayers for our Community By The Revd

'Prayers for our community' by The Revd. Tim Hayward will also feature in the digital exhibition 

She added: "The thing that I suppose has struck me going through all these images is just how different and diverse everyone’s experience of COVID-19 has been. No one story is the same, everyone’s is unique."

The chosen images will feature in a gallery without walls – a one of a kind digital exhibition – which will launch on Monday 14 September. Focussed on three core themes – Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal and Acts of Kindness, a selection of these photographs will also be shown in towns and cities across the UK later in the year.

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