Rita Leistner, a Toronto and Montreal-based award-winning photographer, has worked in numerous warzones as a conflict photographer. In 2003, she trekked the mountains from Turkey to cover the war in Iraq. She attributes the physical and mental conditioning this work required to her ten years of working as a tree planter. More recently, over the course of four years, Leistner embedded with a community of tree planters during which time they planted 45 million trees on 26,000 hectares of land, an area equivalent to 48,000 football fields. Documenting the demands of planting and the planters themselves, Leistner has created a remarkable body of work that positions her subjects as environmental heroes, forever changed by their experiences.
Featured artwork: Rita Leistner, Matthew Muzzatti, 2016.