I’m a sucker for watching documentaries. And in lockdown I’ve been watching a few, but more so of the historical kind. I’ve always found history interesting, especially since the advent of photography and the moving image. Could you imagine a world without a pictorial archive, capturing mankind – the good, bad, happy and the pure evil, all captured in a split second – lasting with us forever?

They are powerful, emotional and all tell a story. They are the images which stick into the subconscious and I for one have many an image implanted in mine – way too many to list here!

We of course capture our own pictorial histories each day, week, month, year on year – it’s become our way of life and history will only become richer because of the millions of photographs and videos taken each day by us humans the world over.

2020 will be a year we will forever look back on, now, in the future and of course when we are all gone – 2020 will be a year the world will never forget.

With this in mind, a recent project which got my attention is an ambitious photography scheme which intends to capture the spirit of the nation during the pandemic, spearheaded by The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of the National Portrait Gallery.

The Duchess of Cambridge and the National Portrait Gallery have launched Hold Still, a community photography project to capture the spirit, mood, hopes, fears and feelings of the nation as we continue to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

On the launch of 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.

“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.”

Do you feel inspired to add to this pictorial history? I certainly do.

The project is completely free and open to all ages and abilities. Images must involve people, and can be captured on phones or cameras. Anyone can submit an image to  www.npg.org.uk/holdstill (closing date 18 June, 2020).

Check out the hashtag and submissions here: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/holdstill2020/

The final result will comprise of one hundred shortlisted portraits which will feature in a one of a kind digital exhibition in the gallery later in the year – creating a new user-generated piece of photographic historical archive for generations to come.

 

Grandparents and grandchildren visiting in isolation © Chris Page; Alexis and David Brett with nine of their sons and baby daughter, isolating in their home in Dingwall © Peter Jolly

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