Rita Leistner’s socially and politically engaged documentary photography practice is based on first-hand engagement in the world, in particular on documenting communities in extreme conditions, such as soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, female patients at psychiatric hospitals in war-time, First Nations communities in the Arctic and helicopter loggers on Canada’s west coast. Most recently, she has been “embedded” with tree planters in the remote and rugged Canadian wilderness in the planting camps of Coast Range Contracting, owned by her friend Garth Hadley, whom Leistner planted trees with in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia over 25 years ago. Modern Canadian Tree Planting, now in its third generation, is considered a rite of passage and is an indelible part of Canada’s national identity as a world leader in sustainable forest management. “The Tree Planters” photographs and accompanying video premiered on October 21, 2017 at the Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto, which has represented Leistner since 2015. Rita will be returning to the “cut block” for the 2018 tree planting season to continue working toward a book and film. The Tree Planters will be exhibited in Vincennes (Paris) at Festival America from September 19 to October 7, 2018.


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