Dr. Yan Wang Preston is a British-Chinese artist interested in the contested definition of nature in contemporary societies, and 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 on a large-format film camera; ‘Forest' (2010-2017), for which she investigated the politics of reforestation by photographing transplanted old trees in new Chinese cities; and ‘Yuan’ (2011), for which she carried out a series of intimate performances at iconic locations on the Yangtze River, including the river source at 5,400 meters above the sea level.
Preston’s work has won major international awards such as the Hundred Heroines, the Royal Photographic Society (2018), 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).
Solo exhibitions of Preston’s work has been presented at venues such as the 56th Venice Biennale, Chongqing China Three Gorges Museum, Wuhan Art Museum, Gallery of Photography Ireland, Impressions Gallery in Bradford, UK, GEXTO Photography Festival in Spain and Xposure International Photography Festival, in Sharjah, UAE. Important group shows include Dubai Photo (2016), Syngenta Photography Award exhibition at the Somerset House, London (2017) and 209 Women at the Westminster Palace, London (2018).
Preston’s monographs ‘Forest’ and ‘Mother River’ are both published by Hatje Cantz in 2018. Among them, ‘Mother River’ has been selected as one of Lensculture’s Favourite Photobooks of 2018. Her work has also been featured in numerous journals, newspapers and online platforms, such as The Guardian, BJP, Irish Times and CCTV. Her work has been collected by institutions such as Wuhan Art Museum in China, Syngenta, Swatch, as well as private collectors worldwide.
Preston was originally trained in Clinical Medicine in Fudan University, Shanghai, China and worked as an anaesthetist before moving to England in 2005. Since then she has devoted herself into a career in photography. She received a PhD in Photography from the University of Plymouth in 2018. Aside of her artist career, she is also a lecturer in photography at the University of Huddersfield, UK.
Preston lives in West Yorkshire, UK, with her husband and daughter. Besides work and family, she enjoys rock climbing and mountain biking.