Mari Ito describes herself as "a photographer who has been taking photos of ethnic minorities and free-range pigs in Yunnan, China, for the past 10 years."

Free-range pigs? She said: "In the beginning in Yunnan, when I was taking pictures of people, I saw pigs walking around all over the place, with nobody taking much notice of them. I photographed them. Then people in Japan, when they saw those photographs, seemed really interested in those pigs. I created a world around pigs."

Her highly individual specialization seems very unexpected in a young Japanese woman who was born in Providence, R.I. Mari's parents met each other when they were both on scholarships in America. Her father was a student of mathematics at Yale University, and then a professor at Brown University. Mari was 12 and her sister four years younger when the family returned to Japan.