Yan Wang Preston

Forest

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Yan Wang Preston
Forest

Text(s) by Zelda Cheatle, Nadine Barth, graphic design by Julia Wagner, grafikanstalt

English

2018. 128 pp., 65 ills.

hardcover with a dust jacket

30.00 x 26.00 cm

ISBN 978-3-7757-4375-4

1st Prize of Syngenta Photography Award in 2017

On the trail of tree migration

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, Yan Wang Preston (*1976) made an incisive observation: in the small village of Xialiu stood an over three-hundred-year-old tree in all of its glory, right in the center of a community that was, at the time of Yan’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 ten thousand American dollars to a hotel in the nearest large city, Binchuan. Yan 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 cognizant of its new surroundings. In China, the country where cities are springing up, transplanting nature is big business. In the photo series Forest Yan tracks down many uprooted creatures that are now in concrete deserts, once again questioning our sense of the meaning of homeland.

Yan Wang Preston is the winner of the Syngenta Photography Award.

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