Seven amazing portraits of tree planters working in B.C.’s remote backcountry

By Jessica Bloom
Toronto Life
October 20, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Maria Agucci

Toronto’s Rita Leistner has decades of experience as a war zone photographer, but she battled a different sort of rough terrain for her new portrait series, The Tree Planters. At first glance, her images look like the posed dioramas you might find in the ROM, but the shots are so full of detail that you can almost smell the sweat and bug spray. The large-scale photos will be on display at Stephen Bulger Gallery until November 18, alongside drone video footage that shows exactly how Leistner wields a $30,000 camera through thick brush and up steep mountains. Leistner worked as a planter herself between 1983 and 1992, and decided to return to the bush, camera in hand, to document the young people invested in Canada’s reforestation—a job that seems simple, but takes grit and grace.

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