Forest photobook launch

28 April 2018


Planting trees, you put down roots. And what about those who dig them up? In 2013, during a long-term photography project along the Yangtze river, RPS member Yan Wang Preston made an incisive observation: in the small village of Xialiu stood a tree that was over three hundred years old tree, Frank, in all of its glory. It was situated right in the centre of a community that was, at the time of Preston’s visit, being coerced into moving so that a dam could be built in that location. Three months later, no trace of the village or the tree could be seen. The residents had moved up the mountain. And the seventy-ton tree? It was sold for twenty-five-thousand Euros to a hotel in a nearby county, Binchuan. 

Preston found the tree, divested of all its branches and leaves and bandaged in plastic, inside the skeleton of the hotel, which was still under construction—like a living sculpture that has yet to become integrated in its new surroundings. In China, the country where cities are springing up, the transplanting and re-constructing of nature is big businesses. In the photo series Forest  Preston spent eight years following many uprooted creatures that are now in concrete deserts. Along the way she also documented a fantastic ecology model town near Frank’s home, once again questioning the meaning and politics of re-making homeland in this age of rapid urbanisation.

Yan Wang Preston is a multi award-winning British-Chinese artist. Forest won the 1st Prize of Syngenta Photography Award in 2017.

The book Forest can be purchased from selected bookstores as well as the websites of Hatje Cantz and Yan Wang Preston. It will be launched at The Photographers' Gallery, London, on 10 May 2018 between 6-8pm. 

Book Information:

Publisher: Hatje Cantz
Texts: Zelda Cheatle and Nadine Barth
Graphic design: Julia Wagner
128 pages,  65 Plates
30 x 26 cm, hardcover
Release date: 10 May 2018
ISBN: 978-3-7757-4375-4 (EN)