My Top 5 Images from Hold Still

I wrote an article, Lockdown in Britain through the lens, about the online exhibition Hold Still at the National Portrait Gallery.

I have commented on each of my favourite images, selected from Hold Still. Hope you enjoy it!

  1. The look of lockdown

This one resonated with me the most. Bare, simple and meloncholy. To me the window represents the world with which her eye catches that glimpse of wish to be a part of. I get a sense that the beautiful model is tamed, crushing her adventurous spirit and soul. Is the window or the model the subject of this piece? How many times have I stared out the window with a similar expression in 2020. 😢 I loved how real this picture was! It makes me feel I’m not alone when I see this. I could identify with this image the most! This is 2020 for me. 😢

2. Sami

2020 has been so depressing which is why I picked this picture as the second favourite of mine. It offers cheer, sunshine and hope combined with realism as his crinkled apron and gloves shine. His smile conveys a message to me with “things are not so bad – in fact they could be worse”. I absolutely love the lighting in this picture, with the sun reflecting on the softness of his eyes and his sweet expression. Kindness is what I see throughout this picture and it’s a great honour to those essential workers and the volunteers. ❤️

Speaking of essential….

3. Essential

Again another kind profile with a hint of a cheeky grin this time as he poses naturally with the bins. A little humour is shown here as not sure he thinks the person taking the picture is a nutter. In some ways he is the King of the “outside” with his neon yellow uniform – the boss of the landscape and countryside behind him, keeping it orderly and clean for others to enjoy. We don’t show much appreciation for our street cleaners as we should do, so I especially loved the honour that this picture gave. 💖

4. Rainbow Reflection

Similar to the first picture I chose, there is an element of loneliness or an adverurous spirit being crushed. Instead of the window to the outside world, we see a rainbow reflected onto a girl’s face and striking eye. Its a beautiful expression of calmness but I also feel sad for the girl being indoors for so long. I love the contrasting colours and what they symbolise – to me it’s the same old stale indoors and vibrancy and colour of the outdoors.


Later in the year there were protests for BLM and I loved this particular picture of a beautiful woman with a meaningful sign. Although restrictions may have been lifted we found that the world is not as bright as we think it to be with horrible events going on and with what happened to George Floyd. Evocative elegance is what I see in this woman as she confidently holds still. I love the masked people behind her- a sense of comeraderie and support.

10 thoughts on “My Top 5 Images from Hold Still

      1. I didn’t mean to be negative, apologies if you felt that way. I never use the reader, never have! Viewing the actual blog is much better I think. It’s the sharp color contrast between the background and the text that can strain the eyes.


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