In September 2019, a gallery was built in Arts West to house the New York Times exhibition "Hard Truths." This marked the first time that the global exhibition of award-winning photography had been hosted in Australia. Read about the exhibition here.
The New York Times’ photo exhibition, ‘Hard Truths,’ showcases deeply personal and revealing images, each capturing nuanced experiences of struggle, survival and upheaval from across the world, including Venezuela, Iraq, Australia, Cuba and Iran.
The collection, curated by David Furst, The Times’ international picture editor, reveals the commanding insight of five of the Times’ finest photojournalists, Meridith Kohut, Newsha Tavakolian, Adam Ferguson, Tomás Munita and Ivor Prickett, who go further than others in pursuit of truth and in many cases, have risked their lives to bring back vivid eyewitness accounts from the world’s front lines and most remote corners.
The exhibit was organized as a way to recognize the news organization’s embrace of photography—which has resulted in Pulitzer Prizes four years running—and to engage audiences in a different setting, the cool quiet of the gallery.
Exhibition Text from "Hard Truths"
The truth can be hard to look at. The photojournalists whose work is displayed here make it hard to turn away.
They made these images as part of journalism’s highest calling: bearing witness. Sometimes, they took great personal risk. Always, they produced work that required courage, artistry, intelligence and perseverance.
They gained the trust of vulnerable people whose lives sometimes depended on trusting no one. They withstood sniper fire and tear-gas canisters, because they cannot recreate situations later. They must be there.
The openness we see in these faces was earned.
We need these images to help us understand our complicated world, to add emotion to the intellectual debates of our time. If a reporter gives voice to the voiceless, a photojournalist provides the body and the place that gave rise to that voice.
No one’s suffering was ended by the photographers’ work. But it was expressed.
Do we have the right to not see these images? We are free people, free to be willfully ignorant or blind. But if our freedom of speech stops at shouting “fire!” in the proverbial crowded theater, then what does it say about remaining silent if the theater is indeed burning?
These photojournalists will not remain silent.
They grew up in Australia, Chile, Iran, Ireland and the United States, and they do this work to connect people across time, space and experience.
Hard Truths: Main Menu
In late 2019 the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne hosted Hard Truths: an exhibition of award winning photography from The New York Times. Here, for the first time, you can explore an online archive of photos and videos captured during the exhibition.
Hard Truths: The Photographers
Hard Truths at the Faculty of Arts featured five series of photographic works by an array of global photographers. Learn more about the participating artists here, and access information about the photographs they took in Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, and Australia.
Hard Truths: Photo Gallery
A gallery of images from the day of the exhibition launch and associated events. Browse through photos shot by Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The New York Times.