Impressions Gallery

Impressions Gallery
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Impressions Gallery opened in 1972 as one of the first specialist contemporary photography galleries in Europe. Since then we have established ourselves as a leading international exhibition space for photography and digital art. We support and promote innovative and creative work that extends the boundaries of current photographic practice. Digital imagery, film and video are essential resources for the contemporary artist, and this is reflected in our programme. We are a small not-for-profit organisation who are dedicated towards providing the local community and our wider international audiences the very best of contemporary photography and digital media.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

opening times
Tuesday - 10am to 6pm
Wednesday - 10am to 6pm
Thursday - 10am to 6pm
Friday - 10am to 5pm
Saturday - 10pm to 5pm
Sunday - Closed
Mondays - Closed

Admission charges

Free Admission.

Additional info

Booking advised for group visits. Please call 0845 0515 882 or email

Collection details

Film and Media, Fine Art, Photography

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
An image of the river source

Mother River by Yan Wang Preston

  • 31 March — 24 June 2017 *on now

This new exhibition, commissioned in partnership with Gallery of Photography Ireland, offers fresh perspectives on China, where traditional landscape clashes with present-day development.

The epic project follows a simple premise: to document the 6,211km route of the river from source to delta, using a strict Y Points System to photograph every 100 kilometres. Made over a period of four years, Yan Wang Preston travelled to the remote high Tibetan Plateau through the Three Gorges to the river’s end at Shanghai. She had to find and photograph sixty-three locations in incredibly diverse and often remote terrain. Since the river source is 5,400 metres above sea level, and half of its length flows through some of the most majestic mountains on the Earth, Mother River is on one level a modern-day adventure, where the photographer faced hazards from altitude sickness to mudslides.

Preston used a large-format field camera, the kind used by nineteenth century explorers. Although cumbersome and complex to use on location, the camera produces huge negatives, offering images with astonishing detail and resolution.

For Chinese-born Preston, Mother River is in part an epic pilgrimage through her native country: an exhaustive exploration of a powerful symbol that reconnects her with the ancestral homeland. Closely associated with Chinese traditional paintings and an icon of the national landscape, the Yangtze represents the folklore of traditional China. However, with over 30 hydroelectric dams on its course, the river is synonymous with China’s rapid industrialisation. Preston hopes Mother River will raise questions about the relationship between nature and culture, tradition and regeneration.

Mother River is part of Views from China, a special six month programme of exhibitions and events at Impressions, taking a fresh look at Chinese culture and the long standing links between the UK and China.

A touring exhibition from Impressions Gallery and Gallery of Photography Ireland.


Suitable for

  • Any age


Impressions Gallery
Centenary Square

Plate 1. From the series Landmarks (2016)

Field Work: Ten Years of Photography by Liza Dracup

  • 7 July — 23 September 2017

From nocturnal woods to wildlife specimens, Liza Dracup is inspired by the landscape and natural history of Britain. Field Work presents a decade of her work, exploring photographic representations of our environment and cementing Dracup’s standing as a pioneer of innovative approaches to landscape photography. This is the first major survey of Dracup’s work, premiering at Impressions, to mark the gallery’s ten-year anniversary in Bradford.

Dracup works with museum collections as well as directly with the natural world. She has a passion for selection and observation, and her work is imbued with the Victorian spirit of enquiry. Inspired by historic processes whilst embracing modern digital techniques, she uses photography as an experimental tool to see beyond the human eye. The resulting images range from vibrant ‘hidden’ landscapes to meticulously detailed studies of plants and animals.

Sharpe’s Wood, which was first shown in 2007 as Impressions’ inaugural exhibition in Bradford, presents a series of nocturnal woodland landscapes. Dracup spent the hours between dusk and dawn in almost total darkness, drawing on light from the constant waxing and waning of the moon, fleeting car headlights and the glow of street lamps to create mesmerising, painterly images.

For Chasing the Gloaming (2011), commissioned by the Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate, Dracup responded to Victorian painter Atkinson Grimshaw’s famous moonlit landscapes, as well as his lesser known still-life paintings. Seeking the unfamiliar within the familiar, her photographic studies illuminate landscapes from inner-city Leeds and rural edges of Bradford, to the coast of Yorkshire.

Lister’s Mill: A Topographical View (2011) was made as part of Dracup’s work with photography collective Bradford Grid, a group of photographers that seek to map and document the city. Her images feature the recurring motif of the iconic, now defunct, chimney of Lister’s Mill – once the world’s largest silk factory – seen from various viewpoints in the post-industrial city landscape.

Re: Collections (2013) takes the Natural Science Collections of Bradford Museums & Galleries as its starting point. The photographs present a series of birds and mammals as still-lives, made timeless by both taxidermist and photographer. Like much of Dracup’s work, the photographs reside in both an artistic and scientific context. These hauntingly beautiful, yet eerie images raise questions about our emotional relationship to British wildlife and its conservation. In her most recent series,

Landmarks (2016), Dracup creates a visual dialogue between past and present, delving into historic landscape photographs in the Harrogate Fine Art Collection. Her images are inspired by botanic specimens, the landscape of northern England, and stereoscopic imagery, a nineteenth century ‘3D’ technique.

Dracup says, “I am delighted to be presenting a decade of my work at Impressions, marking ten years since Sharpe’s Wood was first shown. My photographic journey since then has led me to many places and collections, always seeking the extraordinary properties of the ordinary in the northern landscape and its natural history. I hope that Field Work will reveal hidden aspects to the environment, and the ways in which photography enables us to see the world differently”.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Free entry


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Shook Yong, born 1911

Views from China: A Special Season of Photography at Impressions

  • 16 December 2016 — 24 June 2017 *on now

It’s the most populous country on the planet, and predicted to soon become the world’s biggest economy. Despite being geographically distant, China and the UK have centuries-old relations, from a mutual national obsession with tea, to a shared history with Hong Kong, and today’s big business investments. Yet contemporary China remains, to many, unfamiliar territory. Views From China at Impressions Gallery offers a chance to get up close to Chinese culture, with specially-commissioned exhibitions by the new rising stars of photography, a contemporary Chinese tea house, talks, workshops and tea ceremonies.

The first exhibition of the season, The Queen, The Chairman and I by Kurt Tong, 16 December 2016 to 18 March 2017 draws on the artist’s Chinese, Hong Kong and British family history. Described by Tong as a photographic ‘who do you think you are’, his multi-stranded saga of love and tragedy uncovers family secrets and reveals the impact of the British Empire and Chinese Communism – embodied by Queen Victoria and Chairman Mao of the title – on the lives of individuals. The show combines new and heirloom photographs, rare colour film footage from early 1940s Hong Kong and a contemporary Chinese teahouse where visitors are invited to drink tea and share their family stories. Held to coincide with the twenty-year anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty from British rule, and to celebrate Chinese New Year on 28 January, the show offers a timely reflection on the themes of multiculturalism and migration.

The second exhibition of the season, Mother River by Yan Wang Preston, 31 March to 24 June 2017, is a photographic odyssey that takes the viewer on a journey along the entire length of the Yangtze, often known as China’s Mother River. The epic project follows a simple premise: to document the 6,211km route of the river from source to delta, using a strict Y Point System to photograph every 100 kilometres. Made over a period of four years, Yan Wang Preston travelled to the remote high Tibetan Plateau through the Three Gorges to the river’s end at Shanghai. The resulting exhibition, specially commissioned in partnership with Gallery of Photography Ireland, is an insightful look at the inner life of China, where traditional landscape clashes with present-day development.

An accompanying events programme offers visitors the chance to find out more and have a taste of Chinese culture. Kurt Tong, making a special trip from his home city of Hong Kong, and Yan Wang Preston, a native of China’s Henan Province, will be sharing their stories and experiences through a series of artist talks and workshops for photographers. A programme of cultural events, run in partnership with The Business Confucius Institute at University of Leeds, will enable visitors to try their hand at traditional crafts including Chinese lantern-making and Chinese kite-painting. A particular highlight will be the regular tea ceremonies held in the contemporary Chinese teahouse. Making a British cuppa might seem very simple, but in China the perfect cup of tea requires a number of intricate steps. Visitors will learn about the background of this thousand-year old tradition, before taking part in a tea ceremony, tasting authentic teas, and even having a go themselves.

The season runs from 16 December 2016 to 24 June 2017.

Kurt Tong’s contemporary Chinese teahouse and the Chinese cultural events programme are sponsored by The Business Confucius Institute at University of Leeds.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Impressions Gallery
Centenary Square
West Yorkshire




Learning & Audience Development Co-ordinator (Contact for Group Visits)


01274 737843

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.