Edie Steiner

“I tend to work a lot with ideas of memory and place: meanings of place, sensations of memory, recorded memory. When I’m photographing in a place, often I return to geographies of my childhood, or lived environments from different times in my life, particularly Northern Ontario. I suppose I’m recapturing some of the experience of having lived there previously.” — Edie Steiner

Edie Steiner is a photographer, filmmaker, composer, writer and teacher with a special interest in the relationship between art and environmental discourse.

Born Edith Maria, Edie Steiner emigrated with her parents from Germany to Canada in the 1950s. She graduated from Toronto’s Ryerson Institute of Technology (now Ryerson University) in 1973, with a degree in Media Studies, concentrating in fine art photography, and obtained her MA (2006) in Environmental Studies and PhD (2014) in Environmental Cultural Studies, both from York University, Toronto. 

While still a student in the 1970s, Steiner worked as a freelance photographer, documenting musicians in the emerging punk and new wave scenes and publishing her work in music journals. Around 1982, she began photographing urban objects and since the late 1990s, Steiner’s photography has focused on environmental themes. These include landscape details and cultural moments in rural Northern Ontario, where she grew up, as well as images from her travels. For the 2004 series, The Artifice of Nature, she photographed found objects in abandoned surroundings to reveal the imprint of nature. She also produced a series of digital pinhole photographs, often taken near water. Views from Home: Facing North is a photograph-and-video project that documents the evolution of the view from her home on Toronto’s waterfront over a ten-year period from 2005–2015. Steiner’s photographs have been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Ontario. 

Steiner has been active as a filmmaker since the 1980s, when she joined The Funnel collective and began producing experimental Super 8 films, which were sometimes accompanied by her live music performances. Ranging from drama to autobiography and documentary, her films have been shown at museums and film festivals worldwide. Steiner has also collaborated on original music projects with numerous Canadian and international artists.

Steiner has taught arts, culture and media practices in various Canadian colleges and universities. She is a producing member of numerous arts and cultural organizations, including the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), the Film-Makers’ Cooperative (New York) and V-Tape. 

Her photographs are held in private and corporate collections, as well as at the National Gallery of Canada.