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Kate Middleton and the National Portrait Gallery Use Photography to Connect the Community During COVID-19

Just like the rest of the world, England is also experiencing the disrupting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the threat to public health continues to wreak havoc, citizens are stuck in their homes to keep themselves safe. People are forced to distance themselves from loved ones and friends, so one member of the British royal family is doing her part to still maintain a sense of community among the country’s residents.

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton teamed up with the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) to create the Hold Still project, which was announced in May. According to the NPG, it is an ambitious community project that aims to produce unique photographic portraits that capture England and its people during the pandemic.

Shaun Jeffers/Shutterstock | Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton partnered with the National Portrait Gallery to launch Hold Still.

Anyone living in the U.K. is encouraged to submit their entry of a portrait that belongs in any of these three categories: Your New Normal, Helpers and Heroes, and Acts of Kindness. A statement on the NPG website says that the project can help the community create a collective portrait of the lockdown by bringing together captured individual moments that show the people’s creativity and sadness, resilience and bravery, humor and sadness, and tragedy and hope.

Your pictures don’t have to be of professional quality. What is important is that you capture the motion and experience of living in England in the time of the pandemic, and not necessarily the photographic quality or technical know-how of the photographer. Even pictures taken using your iPhone is okay. However, the image must have at least one person.

Drazen Zigic/Shutterstock | Anyone can submit their portraits regardless of camera quality.

Around 100 portraits will be short-listed and exhibited through the NPG’s website. From there, a smaller sub-set will be showcased to various locations in the U.K. Photo submissions that were already uploaded to NPG’s sites show heartwrenching moments involving grandparents and grandchildren and the medical frontliners. One photo shows young kids visiting their grandparents and talking to them through a glass wall, while the other is that of a nurse who has marks on her face due to wearing a face mask throughout her 13-hour shift.

There’s no other royal better suited for the role of NPG’s partner than Middleton. Aside from being a patron of the NPG, she also has a degree in History of Art from the University of St. Andrews. She also knows her way around the camera.

Several portraits of her three children that have been released to the public were taken by her. Just in April, the Kensington Palace shared her adorable images of Prince Louis with hands covered in rainbow paint during his second birthday. About three years ago, the Duchess was granted a lifetime membership to the Royal Photographic Society because of her portraits of her family and her captured photos while on tour as a royal.

Frederic Legrand-COMEO/Shutterstock | Middleton is a known photography enthusiast and is the patron of the NPG.

Those who are currently living in the U.K. can still submit your entries until June 18. You can do this by uploading it to the NPG website or just by tagging your photo using the hashtag #HoldStill220.

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