Between the ages of 20 and 30, photographer Rita Leistner spent her springs and summers planting spruce, fir and pine in the Canadian hinterlands. It is brutally demanding, lonely, calorie-depleting work that attracts a special breed of people, many of whom come back year after year for more of the same. In Forest for the Trees, Leistner, who also spent decades working as a photographer in war zones, returns to a BC planters’ camp to show what this largely out-of-sight, out-of-mind occupation consists of, and perhaps more intriguingly, what the planters themselves get out of it. The answers come in all shades of green, but also reveal how in this solitude there can still be found a deep-rooted human hunger for restoration.

Rita Leistner