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Boy weeing in his mum’s garden among 100 pictures chosen by Kate Middleton to portray life during lockdown

A BOY relieving himself in his mum’s garden are among 100 pictures chosen by the Duchess of Cambridge to portray life during Covid-19 lockdown.

Kate and a panel of judges whittled down the finalists from more than 31,000 submissions for her Hold Still picture project launched in May.

The final 100 – which were taken by amateur snappers during six-weeks of lockdown to portray Covid-19 life – will now go on display at the National Portrait Gallery.

Kate, a keen photographer, said: “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 and this really extraordinary time, as a record I suppose for years to come.

“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.

“The thought that I think 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 finalists include a cheeky snap by Robert Coyle showing his son Francis weeing in the garden.

In his submission called ‘We’re really lucky to have a garden’, he wrote: “The weekend is here, lockdown continues and Bernadette and Francis enjoy the garden.

“One Friday, as I finished emailing at the kitchen table, my wife had taken a chair and a drink outside to enjoy the evening sun. We were doing our best, like the rest of the country, with work, childcare and news of daily death tolls.

“Our son, had taken to relieving himself on the plants, much to our initial amusement and then slight frustration.”

A second snap to make the final list was taken by hospital cleaner Hassan Akkad called ‘Gimba – the ward host’.

Hassan wrote: “During the peak of the pandemic, I signed up to work as a cleaner in a Covid-19 ward at my local hospital, Whipps Cross.

“Within days, Gimba, our ward host, called me ‘my son’; I
noticed she loved eating rice. Gimba migrated from Nigeria to Britain and has been working at the hospital for over a decade, commuting for 2 hours to get to work.

“On the day the photograph was taken, Gimba had received the terrible news from Nigeria that her mother had fallen ill and had been rushed to hospital.

“Gimba cried all day and was heartbroken that she couldn’t fly home to see her mother and look after her because of travel restrictions during the pandemic. She declined to take any time off, saying: ‘I have to feed my patients’.

“I took this photo while Gimba was having lunch in the staff room, after having prepared meals for all eighteen COVID-19 patients in our ward. She was having chicken and rice.”

A third finalist, ‘Prayers for our community, was submitted by Rev Tim Hayward, of St Boniface Church, Bunbury.

He laid out photographs of the congregation on the pews for the incredible photo.

Rev Hayward wrote: “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.”

The judging panel also included Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, writer and poet Lemn Sissay MBE, Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England and photographer Maryam Wahid.

The images were submitted in three categories Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal and Acts of Kindness.

The 100 finalists will go on display on Monday September 14 and a selection will be shown around the UK later this year.

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