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Mother River is a four-year project (2010–14) for which the British Chinese photographer Yan Wang Preston (born 1976) photographed the entire 6,211-km Yangtze River at precise 100-km intervals with a large-format film camera.
As China's "Mother River," the Yangtze is routinely depicted through idealistic images of iconic places. With Mother River, Preston conceptually undermines this deep-seated preference toward certain river locales and their landscape representations. The equally spaced photographic locations produce no picturesque views or sublime concrete structures, but a set of accidental and vernacular landscapes that have never or rarely been photographed before.
The book tells an epic story of the entire width of China from its western highland to its eastern coast and demonstrates that, in an era of abundant satellite mapping and saturated imagery, fresh views can still be attained in acts of creative mapping.
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