ONLINE TALK: Nature and Natural: Photographer Yan Wang Preston discusses her series ‘Forest’

Wednesday 28 July, 6:30pm 2021


Online talk with photographer Yan Wang Preston interviewed by our director of photography Dr Julie Bonzon.

Recognised for her expert ability to excavate humanity at the heart of landscapes, Yan Wang Preston (b. 1976, Henan Province, China) has created numerous acclaimed series which explore the mercurial relationship between people and place. Wang Preston’s combined interest in photography and mountain climbing have had a transformative impact upon her practice; initially inspired by climber and photojournalist Galen Rowell, she has become known for her adventurous photographic projects which encompass a variety of physical and conceptual terrain.

In the photographic project ‘Forest’, Yan Wang Preston spent eight years (2010-2017) investigating the politics of recreating forests and the ‘natural’ environment in new Chinese cities. She started this project in Chongqing, by following the developments of the transplanted old trees, the concrete city and its people, documenting the changes, dramas and lives in the city. She then extended the project to Haidong, capturing the bizarre and wildly-coloured ecology-recovery landscapes. Wang Preson’s work raises questions about the complexity of urban reforestation and nature re-construction in the contemporary era.

‘Forest’ won the First Prize, Syngenta Photography Award in 2017 and the Sony World Photography Award in the category ‘Professional Landscape’ in 2019. The series has been published as a monograph by Hatje Cantz in 2018.

Yan Wang Preston is represented by Messums Galleries.



Yan Wang Preston,
Puhejing Quarry Ecology Recovery Project, Dali, China, from the series ‘Forest’, 2017
© Yan Wang Preston