Dr Yan Wang Preston

Dr Yan Wang Preston is a British-Chinese artist interested in how landscape photography can reveal the hidden complexities behind the surface of physical landscapes. Her major projects include ‘Mother River’ (2010-2014), for which she photographed the entire 6,211km Yangtze River in China at precise 100km intervals and ‘Forest’ (2010-2017), for which she investigated the questionable process of recreating nature in Chinese cities.

Previously trained in Clinical Medicine in Shanghai, Preston began to pursue a career in photography with her immigration to the UK in 2005. She has completed a PhD in Photography at Plymouth University in 2018.

Preston’s work has won major international awards such as the 1st Prize, Syngenta Photography Award (2017), the Shiseido Photographer Prize at the Three Shadows Photography Annual Award in Beijing, China (2016) and the Reviewers Choice Award at FORMAT, Derby (2014).

Puhejing Quarry Ecology Recovery Project, Dali, Yunnan Province, China, 2017

Preston’s work has been featured in numerous online and printed media including The Guardian, Irish Times, Royal Photographic Society Journal, Chinese Photography Magazine and the CCTV. Her monographs ‘Forest’ and ‘Mother River’ are published by Hatje Cantz in 2018.

Solo exhibitions of Preston’s work has been shown at venues such as the 56th Venice Biennale, Chongqing China Three Gorges Museum, Wuhan Art Museum, The Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, Gallery of Photography Ireland and Impressions Gallery in Bradford, UK. Important group shows include Dubai Photo (2016) and Syngenta Photography Award exhibition at the Somerset House, London (2017).


Her work is collected by public institutions and private collectors worldwide. capturing the energy of the land and depicting the emotion of that specific moment in time. He says “I love the beauty of a landscape image, not because of what or where it is but because it reflects who we are and our individual connection to land, sea, sky and light.”

Haidong North Mountain Forest Park, construction site, Dali, China 2017

Yan Wang Preston’s Mother River Project is both a physical odyssey through China and a metaphor for its evolution, travelling from the traditional culture still seen to be seen at its source through to the rampant modernisation approaching its mouth. “Modernisation is reaching everywhere in China, although in Tibet the degree of modernisation is not the same as in Shanghai,” Yan recorded of an epic journey, to create this ambitious series that takes the viewer on a trip along the entire length of the 6211km Yangtze in China