The Duchess of Cambridge launches an ambitious photography project to capture the spirit of the nation during the pandemic

Grandparents and grandchildren visiting in isolation © Chris Page; Alexis and David Brett with nine of their sons and baby daughter, isolating in their home in Dingwall © Peter Jolly

The Duchess of Cambridge and the National Portrait Gallery have today launched Hold Still, an ambitious community photography project to capture the spirit, mood, hopes, fears and feelings of the nation as we continue to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

While many people's lives are on hold to help protect our helpers and heroes, there are some that are working harder than ever, and others that are enduring the upheaval of hardship and loss. Spearheaded by The Duchess, Patron of the National Portrait Gallery, Hold Still will create a unique portrait of the people of our nation as we hold still for the good of others, and celebrate those who have continued so we can stay safe.

The Duchess and the National Portrait Gallery are inviting people from across the UK to submit a photographic portrait which they have taken during these extraordinary times. Participants are also encouraged to provide a short written submission to outline the experiences and emotions of those depicted in their photograph. The project will focus on three core themes: Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal, and Acts of Kindness.

Completely free and open to all ages and abilities, it will serve to allow the nation to capture a snapshot of the UK at this time, "creating a collective portrait of lockdown which will reflect resilience and bravery, humour and sadness, creativity and kindness, and human tragedy and hope. It will also act as a reminder of the significance of human connection in times of adversity, and that although we were physically apart, as a community and nation, we all faced and rose to the challenge together", so says the Gallery.

On the launch of Hold Still, The Duchess said: "We've all been struck by some of the incredible images we've seen which have given us an insight into the experiences and stories of people across the country. Some desperately sad images showing the human tragedy of this pandemic and other uplifting pictures showing people coming together to support those more vulnerable.

"Hold Still aims to capture a portrait of the nation, the spirit of the nation, what everyone is going through at this time. Photographs reflecting resilience, bravery, kindness – all those things that people are experiencing."

Submissions for Hold Still can be made from today (Thursday 7 May) via www.npg.org.uk/holdstill. The closing date will be 18 June, 2020. One hundred shortlisted portraits will then feature in a gallery without walls – a one of a kind digital exhibition open to all. A selection of images will also be shown across the UK later in the year. The images can be captured on phones or cameras and each image will be assessed on the emotion and experience it conveys rather than its photographic quality or technical expertise.

Nurse Aimée Goold after a 13-hour shift treating coronavirus patients © Aimée Goold

Nurse Aimée Goold after a 13-hour shift treating coronavirus patients © Aimée Goold

Captain Tom Moore Twitter @captaintommoore

Captain Tom Moore Twitter @captaintommoore

Jack Dodsley, 70, dances with a carer in PPE © Tom Maddick / SWNS

Jack Dodsley, 70, dances with a carer in PPE © Tom Maddick / SWNS

Five year old Eadee © West Midlands Ambulance Service

Five year old Eadee © West Midlands Ambulance Service