The photograph of a Morley volunteer producing PPE at the Chelsea Centre during lockdown by Joe Newman was featured in The Queen’s speech on Christmas Day.
The image was one of 100 images selected in 2020 for Hold Still, an online exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.
The photograph was featured on Her Majesty’s Christmas Day broadcast, alongside images of community groups, care homes, NHS workers and Sir Captain Tom Moore. The Queen remarked on the generous community spirit seen during a difficult year: ‘Good Samaritans have emerged across society, showing care and respect for all’.
Joe spoke to our Gallery Manager Jack Davy in a podcast for Morley Radio about the photograph, his experience of being involved in the exhibition, and how much being featured in The Queen’s Speech at Christmas meant to him.
‘It was a real surprise’, he remarked. ‘I thought The Queen caught the spirit and communicated the real coming together that people were experiencing during lockdown… It was great to be part of that story.’
You can listen to the interview with Joe on Morley Radio and get to know Gallery Assistant Melissa Baksh as she and Jack discuss future plans for Exhibitions at Morley.
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.”
Hold Still is an ambitious community project 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. Gallery Director Nicholas Cullinan commented: “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!”
View more of Joe Newman’s images of PPE Production at the Chelsea Centre on the Morley Gallery website.