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.
Ivor Prickett: End of the Caliphate
Born in Ireland, Ivor studied documentary photography at Newport University in Wales, and his early work centered on the Baltic region. He has focused on the Middle East since 2009, covering the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and Libya as well as the fighting against the Islamic State in Iraq and the mass influx of refugees to Europe. Ivor spent much of 2017 in and around Mosul, Iraq, frequently coming under fire as he produced some of the most immediate and intimate combat images of the year.
As Iraqi special forces battled to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State, Ivor naturally turned his lens to the fighting. But more poignantly, he also turned it to the civilians whose lives were upended, and who in many cases lost everything.
Meridith Kohut: Venezuela’s Collapse
Born in Texas, Meridith has been based in Caracas, Venezuela, since 2007. She has produced in-depth photo essays about the rise and collapse of Hugo Chávez’s socialist revolution in Venezuela, the drug trade in Bolivia, Cuba’s transition, gang violence in El Salvador, refugee and migration issues in Central America, prostitution in Colombia, human rights abuses in Venezuela, and prison overcrowding in El Salvador. She has received the George Polk Journalism Award for best foreign reporting.
With Venezuela plunged into economic chaos, shortages of food and medicine are creating widespread suffering and even starvation, notably among the nation’s children. Meridith has spent years documenting the lives of people in Venezuela trying to fight back, but mostly struggling to survive.
Newsha Tavakolian: Stress and Hope In Tehran
Newsha, an Iran native based in Tehran, has been photographing professionally since 1997. The youngest photographer to cover the student uprisings of 1999 in Iran, she went on to cover the war in Iraq, natural disasters and a variety of social documentary projects. Her work has been published by a large variety of international news media outlets and exhibited in museums including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and The British Museum.
It was a time of uncertainty in Iran, with economic sanctions bearing down and talks toward a nuclear accord underway. Newsha captured this sense of twilight in her portraits of the ordinary people who would face the consequences of their leaders’ decisions.
Tomás Munita: Cuba On The Edge Of Change
Based in his native Chile, Tomás works around the globe, focusing on social and environmental issues. In 2012, he made extraordinary images in El Salvador’s prisons of members of MaraBarrio 18, one of the world’s most notorious street gangs. In 2015, he won awards for his prescient work on the plight of Rohingya Muslims and for a project on Patagonian cowboys. He finds poignancy in places where few others might.
After the death of Fidel Castro, the only leader most Cubans had ever known, Cuban society was both anxious and excited about the future. Tomás closely documented the enduring vitality and character of the people, amid the lush colors and textures of this beautiful place. By spending substantial time with ordinary Cubans, his receptivity allowed a deeper view of a complex history manifested in the mystery of transition.
Adam Ferguson: Through the Outback
Adam studied photography at Griffith University in Australia and received a scholarship upon graduation that sent him to Cambodia, his first international assignment. He then traveled from port to port as a crew member on a sailboat to fund the start of his career — one that has taken him to India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, Greece, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Pakistan, Kenya and Egypt. Adam has been a freelance photographer for The Times since 2008 and has won awards from World Press Photo, Photo District News, Pictures of the Year International and the Australian National Portrait Gallery. He is based in New York but still calls Australia home.
Traveling across Australia’s vast interior, Adam found a land that defied easy explanations. Billion-dollar mining operations and crushing poverty. Warm welcomes from people who enjoy the isolation. A vast place filled with meaning.
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 Exhibition
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.
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.