Kate Middleton praises ‘extraordinary’ submissions for her community photography project

The Duchess of Cambridge has revealed she has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the public’s response to her community photography exhibition as she announced the top 100 images have officially been chosen.

Kate Middleton, 38, joined a panel of judges of five judges to select the best images from 31,000 images submitted for the nation-wide contest.

The Duchess, who spearheaded the campaign, is a patron of the National Portrait Gallery and a keen amateur photographer, aims to capture a snapshot of the UK at this time, with the help of the nation. 

Announcing that the top 100 images had been selected, the Duchess 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.’

The Duchess of Cambridge, 38, joined a panel of five judges to select the top 100 images for her Hold Still photography contest

The Duchess of Cambridge, 38, joined a panel of five judges to select the top 100 images for her Hold Still photography contest 

Pick a paisley print dress like the Duchess of Cambridge in Ridley London

The Duchess of Cambridge looked the epitome of summer-chic earlier this year as she stepped out for a workshop at the Royal Photographic Society, after just being named as the new patron.

The stylish royal donned a pretty Ridley London paisley print dress featuring flutter sleeves and a ruffle hem, which she teamed with a pair of espadrilles by Castaner. Kate has worn these wedges time and time again and we don’t blame her, seeing as they’re a total summer staple shoe! She then added some fern earrings by Catherine Zoraida for the perfect finishing touch.

Of course the dress is sold out but click (right) to find other gems from the brand. Or browse our edit of pretty paisley midi dresses that are ideal for emulating Kate’s look.

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This is one of the photos selected by the Duchess of Cambridge ahead of showcasing the final 100 images in a digital exhibition from September 14

This is one of the photos selected by the Duchess of Cambridge ahead of showcasing the final 100 images in a digital exhibition from September 14

This is one of the photos selected by the Duchess of Cambridge ahead of showcasing the final 100 images in a digital exhibition from September 14

This is one of the photos selected by the Duchess of Cambridge ahead of showcasing the final 100 images in a digital exhibition from September 14

This is one of the photos selected by the Duchess of Cambridge ahead of showcasing the final 100 images in a digital exhibition from September 14

This is one of the photos selected by the Duchess of Cambridge ahead of showcasing the final 100 images in a digital exhibition from September 14

She continued: ‘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.’

Meanwhile a snapshot of the Duchess during a video call alongside the other judges was also shared. 

Kate appeared relaxed on the call, where she joined  Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Lemn Sissay MBE, writer and poet, Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England and Maryam Wahid, photographer, to select the top 100 images submitted.

Kate Middleton, who is a keen amateur photographer, launched the community contest during lockdown to capture the mood of the nation

Kate Middleton, who is a keen amateur photographer, launched the community contest during lockdown to capture the mood of the nation

In the clip, the royal appeared elegant in a forest green top, which was emblazoned with black-and-white flowers. 

The royal wore her hair in a relaxed side parting, and opted for a set of drop earrings for the occasion.

Meanwhile Lemn said the experience had been surprisingly emotional, revealing: ‘I didn’t expect the judging process to be so emotional. 

‘As I studied the portraits in this most public crisis I was drawn into the most private moments.

The news comes after the Duchess teased the final 100 portraits had been chosen with an email screengrab, which was posted on Twitter

The news comes after the Duchess teased the final 100 portraits had been chosen with an email screengrab, which was posted on Twitter  

‘A nation through portraiture. Intimacy and inspiration, bravery and hope, determination and love and loss and laughter… 

‘We have been in this together and in these portraits of private struggles and victories, the quiet moments, the tears and laughter are caught on camera for ever in Hold Still.’

She added that the collection of portraits ‘made her proud to be British’, saying: ‘It made me proud of my fellow citizen. It made me remember who we are and what we have been through. I didn’t really know until now.’

It comes days after Kate used the initial of her first name Catherine to sign off an email to judges of her Hold Still portrait contest.

Throughout the pandemic, the Duchess highlighted a selection of her favourite submissions, including this one titled Rainbow

Throughout the pandemic, the Duchess highlighted a selection of her favourite submissions, including this one titled Rainbow

This moving image submitted to the project shows a hospital worker on the floor in despair. It's titled Heartbroken Hero

This moving image submitted to the project shows a hospital worker on the floor in despair. It’s titled Heartbroken Hero

Taking to Kensington Royal Twitter account, Kate shared an email teasing the final 100 photographs picked to feature in the Hold Still exhibition – a campaign she spearheaded which aims to capture a snapshot of the UK amid the coronavirus pandemic.  

Alongside the caption: ‘An email was sent yesterday…Eyes#HoldStill2020,’ the contents of the email read: ‘Dear judges, I am thrilled we have chosen the final 100 portraits. I thought you might like to see the images all together so please find them attached.

I couldn’t have done it without you so thank you so much for your help. C.’ 

Throughout lockdown the Duchess shared regular updates via Instagram, offering up some of her favourite shots and explanations on why they make such an impact.

The relationship between a toddler and an elderly woman is captured in this image, 'Social distancing

The relationship between a toddler and an elderly woman is captured in this image, ‘Social distancing

Images included photos of exhausted healthcare workers and socially distant neighbours.   

Other images submitted to the Hold Still project include one of a family dinner table where a little girl is trying to sing Let It Go from Disney’s Frozen and another snap of children living next-door to each other playing musical instruments in front of their houses. 

Kate previously told how she had been ‘struck’ by the many ‘incredible’ images seen already, ‘which have given us an insight into the experiences and stories of people – some desperately sad images showing the human tragedy of this pandemic’. 

People from across the UK were invited to submit a photographic portrait which they have taken during these extraordinary times for the community project.

Emergency services workers are celebrated in this image called Customised PPE, taken in the back of an ambulance

Emergency services workers are celebrated in this image called Customised PPE, taken in the back of an ambulance

Participants were also encouraged to provide a short written submission to outline the experiences and emotions of those depicted in their photograph. 

Hold Still was completely free, open to all ages and abilities, with the exhibition set to focus on three core themes – ‘Helpers and Heroes’, ‘Your New Normal’ and ‘Acts of Kindness’. 

The idea was to create a unique photographic portrait of the people of our nation in lockdown as we ‘hold still’ for the good of others, and celebrate those who have continued so we can stay safe.

The exhibition will reflect resilience and bravery, humour and sadness, creativity and kindness, and human tragedy and hope.

Hold Still will also 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.

The top 100 photographs will be exhibited in online from 14 September, with selected images shown in towns and cities across the country later in the year.  

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