South west London photographers handpicked for digital exhibition

The photos of two south west London photographers were selected for Hold Still, the National Portrait Gallery’s digital exhibition.  

Australian photographer Amanda Summons’ and Johannah Churchill’s photographs are two of 100 chosen from 31,598 by a judging panel spearheaded by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

Amanda’s photograph features Annemarie Plas, the Clap for Our Carers founder on the very last official clapping on 28 May.

OVER THE MOON: Amanda’s photograph of Annemarie Plas handpicked by Duchess of Cambridge ©Amanda Summons

Twenty-nine-year old Amanda, who’s been in the UK for over a year, said: “I was really really excited to hear that my picture had been picked.

“It was really really exciting. I felt like I had a good bet with this picture because I know that it’s from historical significance documenting the very last clap.

“Annemarie had mixed feelings about ending the clap but wanted it to go out on a high note before becoming politicised further.”

Yoga teacher Annemarie Plas united the nation every Thursday at 8.00 pm between March and May for ten weeks.  

Johannah’s picture shows her colleague Melanie wearing PPE in the south west London clinic where they work.

Melanie had been prepping for the opening of the local Respiratory Symptom’s Clinic at the time.

Johannah was thrilled to find out Melanie’s image was selected in the top 100 images by the National Portrait Gallery.

Johannah, who is also a nurse, said: “I hope the image of Melanie feels representative of all healthcare professionals and the uncertainty and struggles they were facing at this time and continue to experience.

“I wanted it to feel timeless, painterly, and I was luckily blessed with beautiful light to work on the day.”   

ESSENTIAL WORKER: Melanie wearing PPE, March 2020 ©Johannah Churchill

Hold Still is a digital exhibition launched in May by the Duchess of Cambridge and the National Portrait Gallery.

People from across the UK were invited to submit a powerful photograph portrait representing life during lockdown between May and June.

The selection focused on three core themes —Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal and Acts of Kindness.

A panel of judges assessed the images on the emotions and experiences each of them conveyed rather than on the photographic quality or technical experience.  

HOLD STILL: a unique collective portrait of the UK during lockdown ©National Portrait Gallery

The final 100 pictures convey the spirit, the mood, the hopes, the fears and the feelings of British people in this extraordinary time.

The photographs captured virtual birthday parties, handmade rainbows, resilient keyworkers and people dealing with illness, isolation and loss.

One other south west London story making the exhibition is that of five-year-old Millie and her cardboard cutout grandma.

Viewers can see the exhibition on the Gallery’s website and discover the fascinating stories behind the pictures through the words of the entrants themselves.

Her Royal Highness, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has been a Patron of the National Portrait Gallery since 2012.

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