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Hard Truths from The New York Times on show at Sotheby’s London 16-18 March

Manila, Philippines, 09 Octobzer 2016. Jimji, 6, cries in anguish as she screams "papa" before funeral parlour workers, move the body of her father, Jimboy Bolasa, 25, (father of two) from the wake at the start of the funeral to Navotas cemetery in Manila. On the evening of the 20th of September both Aljon Deparine, 23 and neighbour and friend Jimboy Bolasa, 25, were found murdered. The police claim the boys were alleged drug dealers. According to family members, they were surrenderees, around 5.30pm unidentified men forcefully dragged the two boys from their homes, put them in between riders on motorbikes and abducted them. Less than an hour later, their beaten bodies, with signs of torture and gunshot wounds were dumped under a nearby bridge. One week later Aljon's brother Danilo was also found executed and his body dumped under a nearby bridge. Photo by Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

"This series demonstrates the nuance and artistry required by our photojournalists to bring these issues to the fore," says NY Times' international picture editor David Furst, of the work by Ivor Prickett, Tomas Munita, Meredith Kohut, Newsha Tavakolian, and Daniel Berehulak

“The truth can be hard to look at,” says an introductory essay to the exhibition Hard Truths, on show at Sotheby’s this weekend. “We all have a protective need to distance ourselves from disaster. But we ignore our neighbors’ misery at our own peril. Violence and hatred proliferate and can quickly engulf those who seek only to avoid them.”

The exhibition gathers five series shot by freelance photographers for The New York Times and it shows some very hard truths – Ivor Prickett’s images from the end of the Caliphate in Mosul, Iraq; Tomas Munita’s images from a Cuba at the end of an era; Meredith Kohut’s photograph’s of Venezuela’s “collapse”, as she puts it; Newsha Tavakolian’s portraits of individuals in Tehran; and Daniel Berehulak’s hard-hitting images of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug crackdown in the Philippines.

The show was organised by David Furst, The New York Times’ international picture editor, and Arthur Ollman of the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, and it will travel to PHotoEspaña this summer. There are further plans for shows in France, Japan, and Australia, and for a book, co-published by Delmonic Books/Prestel and FEP in 2019.

The dead body of an ISIS militant lies in the driveway of a residential house in the recently liberated Andalus neighbourhood of East Mosul. 16 January 2017. Photo by Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

“The Hard Truths collection is a deeply immersive and sometimes affronting collection, holding a mirror to significant social and political issues, and the repercussions of upheaval and uncertainty facing communities across the globe,” stated Furst. “This series demonstrates the nuance and artistry required by our photojournalists to bring these issues to the fore, bearing witness to these events and aiding our understanding of the world around us.”

The exhibition is part of The New York Times’ “The Truth is Hard” campaign, which promotes the importance of supporting independent, in-depth journalism. The New York Times is one of a shrinking number of news organisations currently investing in its photography team. 

Hard Truths is open from 10am-4.30pm on Friday 16 March, and from 10am – 4.30pm 12-5pm on Saturday 17th March and Sunday 18 March at Sotheby’s  http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/2018/hard-truths-prize-winning-photography.html

Civilians who had remained in west Mosul during the battle to retake the city, lined up for an aid distribution in the Mamun neighbourhood. After months of being trapped in the last remaining ISIS held areas of the city the people in west Mosul were severely short on food and water. Those who chose to remain in the city rather than go to one of the many camps for displaced people, initially relied on aid in order to survive. 15 March 2017. Photo by Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

An unidentified young boy who was carried out of the last ISIS controlled area in the Old City by a man suspected of being a militant is cared for by Iraqi Special Forces soldiers. The soldiers suspected the man had used the boy as a human shield in order to try and escape as he did not know the child’s name and claimed he had just found him alone in the street. One of the soldiers agreed to adopt the boy given that they knew nothing about him and he didn’t speak. 12 July 2017. Photo by Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

An ISIS car bomb that failed to detonate near Iraqi Special Forces lines in the Shuhada neighbourhood of west Mosul was neutralised by a coalition airstrike. 09 March 2017. Photo by Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

A woman screams out in horror shortly after her son was killed in an ISIS mortar attack in the Jidideh neighbourhood of west Mosul. Having being injured by the blast while standing on the street outside, the man was dragged to the doorstep where he was bleeding severely. Although he was rushed for medical treatment he was reportedly dead on arrival. As the battle for west Mosul moved through the densely packed residential neighbourhoods the numbers of civilians caught in the crossfire was huge. 22 March 2017. Photo by Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

Iraqi Special Forces soldiers surveyed the aftermath of an ISIS suicide car bomb that managed to reach their lines in the Andalus neighbourhood, one of the last areas to be liberated in east Mosul. By the end of January after more than three months of fighting, eastern Mosul was declared fully liberated from ISIS and the militants prepared to make their last stand in the west of the city. 16 January 2017, photo by Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

Manila, Philippines, 03 October. Scene of the crime police investigators gather evidence in what appeared to be an extra juducial killing of Frederick Mafe, 48, and Arjay Lumbago, 23, as their bodies lay sprawled in the middle of a street, where they were gunned down by unidentied men in a “riding-in-tandem” killing on October 03, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. According to locals they were shot dead by a man on the back of a bike ridden by another man, as they were driving alongside them. Photo by Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Manila, Philippines, 11 October 2016. Heavy rain pours as SOCO Police, Scene of the Crime Operatives, investigate inside an alley where victim, Romeo Joel Torres Fontanilla, 37, was killed by 2 unidentified gunmen riding motorcycles early Tuesday morning in Manila. Photo by Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Manila, Philippines, 18 October 2016. Funeral parlour workers carry away the body of Edwin Mendoza Alon Alon, 36, nicknamed Bato, killed by an unknown gunman, on the road in front of a 7 Eleven store in Tambo in Manila, Philippines. Photo by Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Manila, Philippines, 19 October 2016. Blood stains on the living room floor where Florjohn Cruz, 34, was gunned down by Police in Manila, Philippines. According to the Police report, “Suspect Cruz ran inside the house then pulled a firearm and successively shot the lawmen prompting the same to return fire in order to prevent and repel Cruz’s unlawful aggression. As a result, Cruz was gunned down.” Like many casualties in President Duterte’s war on drugs, eyewitnesses tell a very different story. There was a cardboard sign calling him “a pusher and an addict” – Florjohn had surrendered months earlier, admitting drug addiction and promising to put an end to the abuse, part of a government amnesty program meant to protect addicts. Such messages are often found attached to the bodies of those killed in summary executions, unofficial murders that the government claims they have nothing to do with. I couldn’t help but feel that the authorities, tasked with so much killing, were getting sloppy in their efforts to conceal their involvement in possible extrajudicial killings. Photo by Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Quezon City, Philippines, 26 October 2016. The bodies Erika Angel Fernandez, 17, and Jericho Camitan, 23, (unseen) lie in an street a few hours after they were gunned down by masked unidentified men in the early hours of October 26, 2016 in Quezon City, Philippines. Photo by Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Caracas, Venezuela, 27 May 2017. Anti-government protesters take control of the Francisco Fajardo highway. The streets of Caracas and other cities across Venezuela have been filled with tens of thousands of demonstrators for over 100 days of massive protests, held since April 1st. Protesters are enraged at the government for becoming an increasingly repressive, authoritarian regime that has delayed elections, used armed government loyalist to threaten dissidents, called for the Constitution to be re-written to favour them, jailed and tortured protesters and members of the political opposition, and whose corruption and failed economic policy has caused the current economic crisis that has led to widespread food and medicine shortages across the country. Independent local media report over 150 people were killed during protests and protest-related riots and looting. Photo by Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Caracas, Venezuela, 20 May 2017. Anti-government protesters use a giant slingshot to launch glass jars full of paint, and jars full of faeces at members of the National Police who responded by heavily tear gassing and firing rubber bullets and buckshot at them. The streets of Caracas and other cities across Venezuela have been filled with tens of thousands of demonstrators for over 100 days of massive protests, held since April 1st. Thousands have been injured, and over 3,000 protesters have been detained by authorities, with 200 reporting being tortured while detained. Photo by Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Barcelona, Venezuela, 16 April 2016. Jose Villarroel, 25, waited covered in his own blood, for hours in the emergency operating room of Hospital Universitario Dr. Luís Razetti, for doctors to operate on him after he was stabbed in the abdomen. The hospital doesn’t have the equipment to scan his abdomen, and told Mr. Villarroel that he would have to figure out a way to arrange for a private ambulance to take him to a private clinic, get the needed scan done there, and bring it back to them before they could operate. Hospital Razetti (as it is called for short) is one of the worst state-run, public hospitals in Venezuela. Doctors compare it to working in a war zone – they regularly have to turn patients away, because they don’t have the majority of medicines or medical equipment and supplies needed to give them medical attention. Despite having the largest oil reserves in the world, falling oil prices and wide-spread government corruption have pushed Venezuela into an economic crisis, with the highest inflation in the world and chronic shortages of food and medical supplies. Photo by Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Los Teques, Venezuela, 22 September 2017. Ama Heredia, 53, (centre in blue blouse), and Zoraida Morales, 66, (third from right) arrived at 6am to wait in line for several hours to receive a free bowl of soup for lunch from a soup kitchen run by the Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Carmen “Luis Igartua” Catholic church in Los Teques, Venezuela. The women said they come regularly because even though they each work, they can no longer afford food because of widespread shortages and soaring food prices caused by the crisis. “I’ve lost over 20 kilos (44 lbs) since [president] Maduro was elected,” Ms. Heredia said. Ms. Morales said she has lost over 30 kilos [66 lbs] since the economic crisis began. The soup kitchen was originally opened to feed 30 homeless people per day. The line now wraps around several blocks from the church, and the soup kitchen now serves 250 bowls of soup each day. Photo by Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Caracas, Venezuela, 10 February 2017. Families salvage food scraps from garbage bags in downtown Caracas. Hundreds of people take to the streets of Caracas every evening to pick through the garbage left on the corners, in search of food. This was an uncommon sight before the economic crisis worsened two years ago. The 2016 ENCOVI (Survey on Living Conditions in Venezuela) found that a skyrocketing percentage of Venezuelan families are struggling to acquire enough food to eat. Over 90% of the over 6000 families surveyed reported not having enough income to buy all the food they need. Photo by Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

San Casimiro, Venezuela, 21 August, 2017. Children view the body of their 17-month old cousin, Kenyerber Aquino Merchan – who died of heart failure caused by severe malnutrition. He weighed only 8.8 lbs when he died – less than half the recommended body weight for a 17-month old. Kenyerber was born healthy, weighing 6 lbs, 7 ounces – but his mother, María Carolina Merchan, 29, got infected by the Zika virus when he was three months old. She had to be hospitalised when she fell ill to the Zika related Guillain-Barré Syndrome – that caused her to lose muscle function in her arms and legs, and made it impossible for her to continue to breast feed Kenyerber. The economic crisis in Venezuela has led to widespread shortages of infant formula, and when the family could not access it to feed Kenyerber, they had to improvise – feeding him what they could find: cream of rice or cornstarch mixed with whole milk, neither of which could provide him the nutrients he needed. He was first admitted into the hospital for malnutrition when he was 9 months old – and was in and out of the hospital for treatment for malnutrition until he died on August 19, 2017. Photo by Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

A shared taxi to Santiago de Cuba, January 2016. Photo by Tomas Munita for The New York Times

A barber shop in Old Havana, Cuba, December 2015. Photo by Tomas Munita for The New York Times

The interior of a house in Santiago de Cuba, January 2016. Photo by Tomas Munita for The New York Times

Children cry as the caravan carrying Fidel’s ashes passes by in Santa Clara, Cuba. 01 December 2016. Photo by Tomas Munita for The New York Times

Men playing dominoes in Havana Vieja, Nov 28, 2016. Photo by Tomas Munita for The New York Times

Baracoa, Cuba, January 2016. Photo by Tomas Munita for The New York Times

“My father is losing his eyesight. His medicine from the U.S. is not under sanctions, but importers can’t purchase it because of sanctions on international banking against us. Will he be able to see in the future?” Mitra Hajjar, 38, Actress. Photo by Newsha Tavakolian for The New York Times

Reza, 59, Paper importer. “At least I hope that the banking sanctions will be lifted. The year
is ending here in Iran and you will not believe the number of bounced cheques I have to deal with. I assume this is because of the sanctions. Money is so tight. If the business climate improves, so will international trust, friendship and peace.” Photo by Newsha Tavakolian for The New York Times

Maysam, 35, Steel trader. “Sanctions haven’t hurt me at all.The problem we have is not for sanctions, it is mismanagement. I do care about the outcome of the talks, I follow the news all the time.” Photo by Newsha Tavakolian for The New York Times