For a long time, Rohina Hoffman has understood that hair has power. When she was seven years old, her two ponytails were unceremoniously cut off against her will. The trauma of realizing her young identity was at her parents’ whim stayed with Hoffman and ultimately provided the inspiration for her first monograph, Hair Stories (Damiani, April 2019).
Hair Stories is a series of interviews and color portraits of women ages 14 – 100 that explores the complex relationship women have with their hair.
In her essay in the book, Hoffman writes: “What I discovered is that hair is a language, a shield, and a trophy. Hair is a construct reflecting our identity, history, femininity, personality, our innermost feelings of self-doubt, aging, vanity, and self-esteem. Hair also has deep sociological roots. It can be indicative of a certain religious or political belief system and like its genetic code, is complicated and touches our very core.”
Hair Stories comes with QR codes that allow the reader to listen to excerpts of the audio interviews. Created in their home environments, Hoffman adopted the interviewing skills she developed during her training as a neurologist to establish an intimate rapport with her subjects.
“This salient project presents hair as a metaphor for identity, femininity and the manner in which women struggle for control over their own bodies in a misogynistic world,” writes the publisher in a statement. “Hair Stories shows that hair is more than just style or aesthetics; it is a physical manifestation of the ongoing hope and history of women.”
Book Launch Events:
A Book Signing with Rohina Hoffman at AIPAD in New York on Friday, April 5, 2-3pm, Damiani Table 612
A Conversation with Rohina Hoffman and Aline Smithson followed by a Book Signing at Arcana: Books on the Arts, Los Angeles, Saturday, May 18, 4-6pm
These Women Dare to Question Racial Biases
Women For Real
Lessons in Photo Book Publishing from a First Time Author (for PDN subscribers; login required)