Accomplished former Cadbury Sixth Form College student and award-winning photographer Maryam Wahid has been working on the ultimate judging panel – headed up by The Duchess of Cambridge!
Maryam was invited to join the high-profile virtual panel to select 100 final images for the National Portrait Gallery project Hold Still, the community photography project launched by the Duchess in May.
Hold Still invited people of all ages, from across the UK to submit a photographic portrait which they had taken during lockdown. The project, which spanned a six week period, aimed to capture and document the spirit, the mood, the hopes, the fears and the feelings of the nation as we continued to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
Maryam said: "It has been a phenomenal opportunity to be a judge for Hold Still. A lot of things have happened during the coronavirus lockdown and to see the emotions and experiences of people has been extraordinary. I am so overwhelmed by the heroic work done during this time by the NHS, volunteers and essential workers. The lockdown has affected all of our lives and we will have our own experiences of it. For me, every single image submitted has a narrative and is a valuable photograph. All of the images taken in this time are evidence of how lifestyle, celebrations, relationships, birth, death and religious festivities drastically changed during the coronavirus pandemic in Britain."
The Duchess of Cambridge said: “I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has entered and taken part. And a big thank you to my fellow judges. I hugely appreciate the time and dedication that they have shown towards the project.”
Maryam’s photographic work explores her identity as a British Pakistani Muslim woman. She expresses the origins of the Pakistani community in her hometown Birmingham by exploring her deeply rooted family history; and the mass integration of migrants within the United Kingdom. Her work explores the female identity, the history of the South Asian community in Britain and the notion of home and belonging.
After graduating from Birmingham City University with a First Class Honours Degree in Photography two years ago, Maryam has been commissioned to create photographs for The Guardian, The Financial Times, Manchester Metropolitan University and The People's Picture, among many others.