Chelsea Centre in Hold Still Exhibition

A photograph of a Morley volunteer producing PPE at the Chelsea Centre during lockdown by Joe Newman has been chosen to feature in Hold Still, a new online exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.

Hold Still is an ambitious community project which was launched in May 2020 to create a unique collective portrait of the UK during lockdown. The project is spearheaded by The Duchess of Cambridge, who is a patron of the National Portrait Gallery.

The photographs were taken in a six-week period during May and June and focused on three core themes: Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal and Acts of Kindness. The panel of judges, including the Duchess of Cambridge, author Lemn Sissay and Director of the National Portrait Gallery Nicholas Cullinan, received over 31,000 submissions before selecting the final 100 portraits. Entrants ranged from 4 to 75 years old and represented all corners of the UK. 

Joe Newman’s ‘PPE Volunteer’ was taken at the Chelsea Centre during lockdown, when Morley supported the production of over 25,000 medical gowns for the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust. Joe was volunteering at the Chelsea Centre himself, and said, “I was truly inspired by what I saw. I’m a newspaper photographer by trade, so wanted to capture this very unique time in our history, and I’m thrilled to be part of the Hold Still exhibition, which does such a great job of telling the story of the last few months.”

The image even features in Cullinan’s Director’s choice: “This is such a compelling image of the ingenuity and selflessness displayed by so many over the last few months. The side light coming in from the window is also fantastic – like a Vermeer!”

You can see Joe’s image and explore the National Portrait Gallery’s Hold Still exhibition online. And if you’re feeling inspired by the exhibition, why not try a photography course at Morley