Steve Kean is a photographer originally from Sudbury who has been living in Toronto for the past 24 years. He came to photography while in high school where he was failing art class. Kean’s disability made it difficult for him to draw or paint, but he still had a burning need to create art. A camera was the answer for him. Mostly self-taught, Steve has made tens-of-thousands of images over more than thirty years attempting to master his craft.
Steve describes himself as both a disabled photographer and a photographer with a disability. What’s the difference? Why not use just one descriptor? Well, they are not interchangeable. He identifies as a disabled photographer because he lives and creates art in a world that is not designed to accommodate him and his wheelchair. People are more comfortable with “artist with a disability.” Perhaps this is because it acknowledges Kean as a person first and frames his disability a part of him rather than the world around him.
Ways I Work
What do you listen to when you work?
I'm a child of the 80s. Hairbands, blues, country music are all very inspirational and help me focus.
What artists do you admire right now?
I have a great admiration and respect for the work of First Nations artisans in all forms. Right now, I am particularly partial to the Woodland school artists like Saul Williams, Norval Morrisseau, and Martin Panamick
Your favourite spot in Toronto right now
The St. Lawrence neighbourhood. Old Town Toronto
Beverage of choice
A fine glass of sparkling wine goes with any food, any occasion, any company.
During my breaks, I tend to ...
Stare out the window and dream and look and hopefully see.
When did you start making art, and why?
I started making art when I discovered the camera. That was the first time I felt I could create something that made me happy. Other mediums just frustrated me when I couldn't do what I saw in my mind's eye, in my heart. Photography allows me to show and interpret my world. To show you what I see and feel in a way I never thought I could.
Describe your home in 3 words
It's my sanctuary
Which piece of art you've created is your favourite, and why?
Ahh yes, I bet you thought I would actually answer that question, didn't you? It's more important that you know YOUR favourite piece of my work.