Which of these incredible photos from the Canada Covid Portrait challenge is your favourite?

By Zach Harper

Another week of the coronavirus pandemic has passed, and that might seem a bit surreal. At times, it seems hard to believe more than two months have gone by since lockdowns in Canada started, and at other times it seems like it has really dragged on. Maybe restrictions are starting to be loosened where you are – maybe they've been put back in place. Maybe, if you're in a country such as New Zealand, infections have dropped right off.

With another seven days, there have more striking, impactful photos in the Canada Covid Portrait challenge. Canadian photographer George Pimentel's initiative invites those across the country to share images of how the coronavirus pandemic has affected their lives – and those of others.

You've probably been documenting your life under the coronavirus pandemic and how much it has shifted. Canadians are welcome to submit photos to the project until June 26. Canada Covid Portrait is "open to anybody with a cell phone who wants to convey what they're going through in COVID times," says George. You don't need to be a professional photographer to take part – you just need a phone. You can submit

Each week, we'll be asking you to pick your favourite image or series of photos. We'll reveal your absolute favourite on July 1. You can see more work by amazing Canadian photographers over at the initiative's Instagram account.

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As places being to re-open, will you be wearing a mask in public ? With Parliamentary shutdown until September just approved, we’re featuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stepping out of his motorcade wearing a mask—and setting an example of how to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. As well, we’re including a shot of a socially distanced Parliament. Both photographs by Ottawa-based photographer, Dave Chan.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Share your photos with us using #CanadaCovidPortrait ⁠⠀ _________⁠⠀ “During his daily briefing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he will start wearing a mask in public where physical distancing is not possible. After his briefing at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, the Prime Minister was scheduled to attend the sitting of the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic on Parliament Hill. When his motorcade pulled up and he stepped out, I captured a few frames. I took a series of photos, including this shot, some of which have now been seen around the world.”⁠ --Dave Chan⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Ottawa, Ontario ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Photo by Dave Chan @davechanman⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ #ottawa #justintrudeau #primeminister #worldleaders #photography #covidcanada #canadian #canadalockdown #covid19 #covid19 #trudeau #staysafe #pandemic #pandemiclife #pandemicincanada #ontario #ottawaphotographer ⁠⠀ ⁠#covidlife #journalism #photojournalism #documentaryphoto #history ⁠⠀ ⁠#parliment #wearamask #photography #photographycontest ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀

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Dave Chan's photo shows Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a mask. It's a striking image that will likely hit home with many Canadians about just how important wearing a mask in public has become.

"During his daily briefing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he will start wearing a mask in public where physical distancing is not possible," Dave explained. "After his briefing at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, the prime minister was scheduled to attend the sitting of the Special Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic on Parliament Hill. When his motorcade pulled up and he stepped out, I captured a few frames. I took a series of photos, including this shot, some of which have now been seen around the world."

ET Canada's Cheryl Hickey shared a photo with the challenge that involves one of the hardest parts of lockdown: not being able to hug loved ones.

"The last time I saw Dad in person, I hugged him and said, 'See you soon,' knowing that I wasn't telling the truth," she says. "This was Dad's birthday through a window at his long-term care home. It has been a scary and heartbreaking journey for many, including our family."

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Cheryl Hickey, ET Canada Host, tells us about one of the most difficult aspects of being in lockdown—having to sacrifice seeing and hugging the people we love the most. How have you been staying connected with loved ones while staying safe? ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Share your stories and photos with us using #CanadaCovidPortrait ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ _________⁠⠀ "The last time I saw Dad in person I hugged him and said, 'see you soon', knowing that I wasn't telling the truth. This was Dad's birthday through a window at his long-term care home. It has been a scary and heartbreaking journey for so many, including our family." ⁠-- Cheryl Hickey ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Toronto, Ontario ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Photo @cherylhickey⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ #COVID19 #Coronavirus #onassignmnet #Canada #Canadian #photography #canadianphotographer #photojournalism #photojournalist #socialdistancing #documentaryphotography #photojournalism #corona #canadalockdown #streetphotography #newnormal #sixfeetapart #covid19Canada #covidcanada #shelterinplace #shelteringinplace #streets_storytelling #shelterinplacecanada #pandemiclife #covidlife #toronto #family #longtermcarehome #covidtoronto

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Brenda Spielmann's photo shows her children at home in Toronto. Her son, who has a physical disability, looks at a disco ball in his wheelchair.

"My son has a disability and is considered high risk for contracting COVID-19," she said of the context behind the image. "As a result, our family has been spending loads of time at home. When I walked into my daughter's room, she was painting and my son had put the disco ball on his wheelchair to play with the light reflections.

"Seeing this scene brought me a sense of lightness and fun, and I believe we need a bit of that during these times."

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With a high-risk son at home, Brenda Spielmann from Toronto reflects on her time in isolation and the extra precautions her family must take as a result. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Noting both the literal and metaphorical glimmers of light shining on her daughter's bedroom wall, Spielmann relished in the lighter moments that being in quarantine can sometimes bring. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Let us know what you've been doing to keep things positive in your home. Share your photos using #CanadaCovidPortrait. ⁠⠀ _________⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ “My son has a disability and is considered high risk for contracting COVID-19. As a result, our family has been spending loads of time at home. When I walked into my daughter’s room, she was painting and my son had put the disco ball on his wheelchair to play with the light reflections. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Seeing this scene brought me a sense of lightness and fun, and I believe we all need a bit of that during these times.“⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠Photo by Brenda Spielmann @Brendaspielmann ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ #COVID19 #Coronavirus #onassignmnet #Canada #Canadian #photography #canadianphotographer #photojournalism #photojournalist #socialdistancing #documentaryphotography #photojournalism #corona #canadalockdown #streetphotography #newnormal #sixfeetapart #covid19Canada #covidcanada #shelterinplace #shelteringinplace #streets_storytelling #shelterinplacecanada #pandemiclife #covidlife #stayinghome #stayhome #quaratine

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Katrin Faridani shared three images that show her cutting a loved one's hair while wearing personal protective equipment because they appear to be in hospital. The second photo shows the face of the woman, who is hooked up to a ventilator, and the third shows her hands.

"I had to move very carefully while wearing a tent," she wrote. "I've given many haircuts before, but this was my first in a bed - and no, I'm not a hairdresser."

"Just because she's ill doesn't mean we let her look anything but her best, and feel comfortable," she continued. "She always likes her hair short. I must have taken off 5 inches. Doesn't she look great for 85?"

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⁠⠀ "I had to move very carefully while wearing a tent. I've given many haircuts before but this was my first in a bed -and no, I'm not a hairdresser."⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ____________⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ "The profile of the person I love the most, with a haircut and eyebrows trimmed. Just because she's ill doesn't mean we let her look anything but her best, and feel comfortable. She always likes her hair short. I must have taken off 5 inches. Doesn't she look great for 85?"⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ___________⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ These hands have held me from the very first day, stroked me to sleep, pinched and cuddled me. These hands have wiped my bum, washed me, dressed me and undressed me, fed me, and always kept me safe. Now my heart is in your hands, and it always will be." ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Toronto, ON⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Photo by Katrin Faridani @faridanifoto ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ #COVID19 #Coronavirus #onassignmnet #Canada #Canadian #photography #canadianphotographer #photojournalism #photojournalist #socialdistancing #documentaryphotography #photojournalism #corona #canadalockdown #streetphotography #newnormal #sixfeetapart #covid19Canada #covidcanada #shelterinplace #shelteringinplace #streets_storytelling #shelterinplacecanada #pandemiclife #covidlife #toronto #covidtoronto #health #frontlineworkers

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Brandon Hart shared a series of images that show Vancouverites holding special messages that they want to share with the world about how they were feeling and what they were thinking. Some of them say things like "I'm afraid, too. And that's ok," "Now is not forever" and "We will hug again." All of the images were taken from a safe social distance.

"I realized that with COVID-19, people more than ever needed to have their stories told, and that I had a responsibility to tell those stories," Brandon said. "When I first started out on this journey, I had no idea what this project would mean to me and to others, the hours of dialogue we would have struggling to understand what all this means and how we could support each other during these challenging times.

"I had no idea of the responsibility I was taking on, and how it would fundamentally change how I see the world, and how it would forever transform my view of photography."

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"My name is Brandon Hart and I am a professional commercial/editorial portrait photographer in Vancouver, British Columbia. I became a portrait photographer because I wanted to be a story teller. With COVID-19 taking over our lives, I had to close my studio doors, not being deemed an essential business, and as a result, I found that my ability to express myself through my work had literally vanished. I struggled between the idea of finding ways to make ends meet and finding ways to continue to tell stories on behalf of the people. I realized that with COVID-19, people more than ever needed to have their stories told, and that I had a responsibility to tell those stories. My belief is that at pivotal moments like these, we have a responsibility, as human beings, to ask ourselves what we can do to help make the world a kinder, better place to live for others; what can we do for our community? On a professional level, the only way I knew I could contribute was as a visual storyteller, as a portrait photographer.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Expressing an intimate message to the world, from a safe distance: ⁠⠀ My COVID-19 Portrait Project started somewhat tentatively, by initially reaching out to others, who were isolated from the rest of the world, to see how they were doing and to ask each of them whether he or she or they had a message they wanted to express to rest of the world, about how they felt or what they were thinking. When I first started out on this journey, I had no idea what this project would mean to me and to others, the hours of dialogue we would have struggling to understand what all this means and how we could support each other during these challenging times. I had no idea of the responsibility I was taking on, and how it would fundamentally change how I see the world, and how it would forever transform my view of photography. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ My Covid-19 project has lead me to photograph portraits of more than 60 people, capturing their intimate messages and feelings from outside their homes, from a distance of 2 metres or more." Photo credits: @brandonhartphotography

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Which of these photos or series of images is your favourite? Let us know in the poll below!

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