Y61: 距江源6000公里 6,000km from the river source © Yan Preston

Yan Wang Preston:
River Stories

Journey with the artist along China's Yangtze River from source to sea, in this 12-part video odyssey.

River Stories is a series of 12 sixty-second digital films that unveil unseen aspects of Yan Wang Preston’s Mother River project. Commissioned by Impressions Gallery, the films reveal unpredictable physical expeditions, artistic struggles and first-hand stories of life in modern China across diverse geographical terrains. 

Originally exhibited at Impressions in 2017, Mother River is a photographic odyssey taking the viewer on a journey along China’s Yangtze River. Fearless in her approach, Yan travelled the entire 6,211km length of the Yangtze, stopping every 100km to take a picture on her large plate camera. The result is an astonishing look at the whole inner life of China composed and shot with great skill and ingenuity in often the most adverse conditions.

View River Stories 1 below, and watch the entire River Stories playlist on YouTube.

River Stories is supported by public funding from Arts Council England


  • Portrait of Yan

    Yan Wang Preston

    Yan Wang Preston (Born Henan Province, China, 1976) originally trained as a doctor in Shanghai before moving to the UK in 2005. Her work has been exhibited at Glasgow International Festival of Visual Arts (2014), Noorderlicht Photography Festival, the Netherlands (2012), the National Portrait Gallery, London (2006) and Touchstones Gallery, Rochdale (2014).

    She won the Shiseido Photographer Prize at the Three Shadows Photography Award in Beijing in 2016, was ‘Reviewers Choice’ at FORMAT International Photography Festival 2014, and has ben nominated twice for the Prix Pictet Award in 2015 and 2016. Preston was selected for the 2015 UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange, with Mother River exhibited at the Chongqing China Three Gorges Museum; Wuhan Art Museum; and The Swatch Art Peace Hotel, Shanghai.