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Jack Dodsley, 79, with a carer at Newfield Nursing Home, Sheffield, April 2020
Jack Dodsley, 79, with a carer at Newfield Nursing Home, Sheffield, April 2020. Photograph: Tom Maddick / SWNS

Be part of a lockdown photography project from the National Portrait Gallery and Kate Middleton

The Duchess of Cambridge has helped launch project ‘Hold Still‘ capturing everyday lives under lockdown

Chris Waywell

We’ve all adapted – more or less – to lockdown across London and the UK. It doesn’t feel so strange any more that the dominant colour of every news bulletin is NHS-scrubs turquoise. That we see pictures of families indoors pressed up to their windows as a kind of everyday normality, not a unique tragedy. That we don’t need an explanation as to why there are homemade paintings of rainbows everywhere. The aesthetics of 2020 will stay with us all for the rest of our lives, but what about the specifics? The telling details and faces that define these unprecedented times?

‘Hold Still’ is an ambitious new project to create a landmark picture of the UK during its weeks of lockdown. Launching today (Thursday May 7), it invites ordinary Brits to contribute a photographic portrait of someone taken during the current nationwide crisis. It’s been developed by the National Portrait Gallery and its patron, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. 

Alexis and David Brett with nine of their sons and baby daughter
Alexis and David Brett with nine of their sons and baby daughter. © Peter Jolly / Northpix

It’s pretty simple. You take a photo of someone important to you under one of three categories: ‘Helpers and Heroes’, ‘Your New Normal’ and ‘Acts of Kindness’.

It could be a family member, a care worker, someone who has done something extraordinary, or just someone who has made the ordinary that bit more bearable. Along with the photograph, contributors are invited to give a short written statement to explain what the portrait and the person mean to them: the emotions and the backstory. You don’t have to be a technical whizz with a bag full of lenses. You can take your picture on a phone or a simple camera. ‘Hold Still’ is about the real world and the shared experience, not photographic prowess. 

You can submit your pictures to ‘Hold Still’ from today (May 7) until June 18. It’s free to enter, and the best 100 images will form a landmark virtual exhibition at the NPG. A selection of them will be displayed across the country.

Everyone knows someone who has meant something to them during the last few weeks. Here’s a chance to make them part of photographic history.

Send your pictures to ‘Hold Still’ until Jun 18 2020. Search #holdstill2020.

This photography book is a moving portrait of life in two London hospitals (and it helps the NHS). 

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