A-chan created the images in Salt'n Vinegar in her home in New York and on travels between 2011 and 2013. Continuing her eloquent unassuming reflections on her immediate surroundings, A-chan depicts the unexpected beauty of water streaming from a faucet, a figure skater caught mid-pirouette, street scenes, supermarket shelves and a lone packet of potato chips, which lends its title to this book. Salt'n Vinegar features both color and black-and-white images, suggesting that the independent threads of A-chan's color photo book Vibrant Home and her black-and-white Off Beat, both published by Steidl in 2012, have now found resolution in book form.
Vibrant Home is A-chan's tender visual diary of the three places in which she has lived since 2000: Tokyo, Fujishiro and New York City. Wandering the streets with her camera, she captures that which we see but overlook: a grid of power lines against the sky, magnolia blossoms reaching sunwards over a wall, a self-absorbed child on the subway, rain-lacquered streets. A-chan explains: "Vibrant Home is the name of the apartment I used to live in in Tokyo. That was my first time to live alone. There is beauty, slight movement. I stop walking and just follow my intuition."
Born in 1978 and raised in Japan, A-chan began her career designing advertisements, CD jackets and magazine editorial. She has exhibited her photographs and held slide shows at galleries including Nadar Gallery and Lounge Roots, both in Tokyo. In 2006 A-chan moved to New York City and in 2007 began working with Robert Frank. She has co-edited and codesigneda number of Frank's books including Tal Uf Tal Ab (2010), Pangnirtung (2011) and You Would (2012).
Off Beat presents photographs taken in New York City in 2008 and 2009, when A-chan began working with black-and-white film. The images were made in the same wandering spirit as those in Vibrant Home, also to be published by Steidl. A-chan explored the streets of New York, allowing her compositions to reveal themselves rather than searching for pre-determined motifs. Pigeons perched on a branch, the lyrical geometry of serviettes on a table, or the play of shapes created by a bus silhouetted against traffic: such is the material of A-chan's restless, charming vision.