Kate Middleton working on project about life under lockdown in London

The National Portrait Gallery is collecting portraits of life under lockdown as part of the ‘Hold Still’ initiative. © Image Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

LONDON: The Duchess of Cambridge is collaborating with the National Portrait Gallery for a community photography project that will capture “the spirit, mood, hopes, fears and feelings” of Britain during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative invites Britons to submit portraits of their lives under lockdown, at a time when Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced gradual steps towards loosening the coronavirus restrictions in the UK.

The National Portrait Gallery is calling on photographs responding to the themes “Helpers and Heroes,” “Your New Normal” and “Acts of Kindness,” with the museum welcoming submissions taken on an iPhone as well as those by professional photographers.

While submissions close on June 18, a hundred shortlisted portraits will feature in a virtual exhibition on the Gallery’s website.

The virtual presentation will open at a yet-unannounced date in August, with a further selection of images going on show across the UK later in the year.

“We have all seen some incredible images out there, and heard some amazing stories. Some desperately sad stories, but also some really uplifting ones as well, and I really hope that through a project like this we might be able to showcase some of these stories and to document and share a moment in time that we are all experiencing,” Middleton said of the initiative in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Victoria and Albert museum (V&A) made a public callout for signs that have been created by individuals and communities in response to the current social distancing restrictions.

Images can be submitted via the email address [email protected], or shared on social media using #homemadesigns.

“Whether they state temporary closure of a business, raise awareness for a good cause, or express messages of hope, support or criticism, these signs have become a prominent way for us to communicate with the outside world during lockdown. By collecting such artefacts, we aim to create and preserve a rich portrait of life under lockdown expressed through visual imagery,” the cultural institution said in a statement.

Additionally, the V&A is collecting rainbow drawings and imagery designed by children to celebrate NHS workers at the frontline of the global health crisis.

The rainbow signs will join over 40,000 child-related objects in the museum’s collection, whose revamped V&A Museum of Childhood is due to reopen in 2022 in Bethnal Green.