Rohina Hoffman (b. 1968) is a Los Angeles-based fine art photographer exploring themes of identity, home, adolescence and the female experience. The below series, titled In Gratitude, is an homage to food and family. “Created during the pandemic, it is a series of portraits of myself, my husband, and my three children showcasing the items that we use to produce our daily meals,” the artist explains. “Despite the uncertainty and fear we feel because of the pandemic, the creation of these portraits has enabled me to see my gratitude more clearly, allowing me to honour the foods we eat.”
Born in India and raised in New Jersey, Hoffman grew up in a family of doctors spanning three generations. Trained in both medicine and photography, she embarked on a career as a neurologist – an occupation which continues to influence her image-making. Her ability to forge a sense of trust with patients has been equally instrumental in connecting with her subjects. It’s an approach which led her to publish her first monograph, Hair Stories, with Damiani Editore in 2019.
In this series, Hoffman’s portraits are cropped at the torso; faces are removed from the frame. Instead, pineapples, aubergines, artichokes and avocados take centre stage – held in hands or suspended within items of clothing. There’s an interesting colour-play here, with pinks and mauves offset by deep greens and purples. In a world where we are increasingly detached from what we eat and where it comes from, its refreshing to see the textures of fruits and vegetables close-up.
“Covid-19 changed the way I approached our dinners,” Hoffman continues. “They became the highlight of our day and I was more thoughtful in my shopping and preparing.” For many, the pandemic has brought priorities into sharp focus. These images encourage us to pause and reflect on the most crucial elements of our daily lives. “In the words of MFK Fisher: ‘Our three basic needs, for food, security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined, that we cannot straightly think about one without the others.'”
All images by Rohina Hoffman, from the series In Gratitude.
1. Artichoke for steaming in aromatics
2. Pineapple for smoothie
3. Eggplant for baingan bharta
4. Celery for chicken noodle soup
5. Beets for steaming in water and lemon juice
6. Avocado for avocado toast