Radiographer's image selected as part of National Portrait Gallery's lockdown exhibition

Kyle Tallett's chosen image of colleague Allen Matembo after a 12-hour nightshift. Black and white photo of Allen in scrubs sitting in a chair in a room with radiography equipment
Kyle's chosen image of colleague Allen Matembo after a 12-hour night shift

Published on 17 September 2020

An image of a radiographer after a 12-hour night shift at the William Harvey Hospital has been chosen as one of a hundred photographs representing the UK during lockdown.

Kyle Tallett took the photo of his colleague Allen Matembo just before the handover between shifts, and it was selected by a panel of judges including the Duchess of Cambridge and the chief nursing officer for England, Ruth May.

Titled ‘End of a night shift’ it can now be seen as part of Hold Still; a digital exhibition organised by the National Portrait Gallery. There are plans for physical exhibitions in the future.

Kyle, a superintendent radiographer with East Kent Hospitals, had started taking photos of his team in action as a way to record their contributions during the coronavirus pandemic. 

He said: “On this day, I was leading the day team. I walked in to take handover from the night team that Allen was leading, as I said opposite him and I thought ‘There’s a picture: a determined healthcare worker at the end of a trying shift.

“My staff come from all over the world, we are a real international unit. As such we are a great team, really tight and we got tighter as the pandemic progressed. 

“I never saw panic by anyone – no matter how bad things were, I only saw a calm professionalism. I think this picture captures this. It reminds me of good colleagues and I cannot put into words the feelings towards my team.

“I don’t need words, this image says it all.” 

The project was spearheaded by the Duchess of Cambridge in her role as Patron of the National Portrait Gallery, and more than 31,000 images were submitted from all over the UK.

All taken during a six-week period in May and June, they were centred around three themes: helpers and heroes, your new normal, and acts of kindness.

The judging panel – which also included gallery director Nicholas Cullinan, award-winning photographer Maryam Wahid, and author and broadcaster Lemn Sissay– selected 100 portraits, assessing them on the emotions and experiences they conveyed. 

The Duchess of Cambridge said: “I’ve been so overwhelmed by the public’s response to Hold Still, the quality of the images has been extraordinary, and the poignancy and the stories behind the images have been equally moving as well.”

To see the images, and for more information about the exhibition, visit www.npg.org.uk/hold-still