She has been working down at the docks in Steveston, checking the latest catches on behalf of Fisheries & Oceans and been a polls supervisor for Elections Canada.
And this Saturday, Steveston resident and award-winning photographer Kerri-Jo Stewart will add to her storied resume and colourful life when hosts the grand opening of her own gallery – KJ’s Studio – in the heart of Richmond’s art district.
On display at her fine art photographic exhibition through October and November will be her love of all things horse, which was born from researching in equine physiology, studying performance in racehorses and as a competitor in distance riding, where she was Western Canadian Champion and top five in North America.
That’s all before Stewart landed the job as official photographer for the president of Turkmenistan, a role she thrived in for 10 years, covering numerous equine events, independence days and even travelling to China to cover that country’s gas treaty talks.
“All that stopped right at the start of the pandemic, when the travel ban kicked in,” Stewart explained to the Richmond News.
“I had to sell my home in Steveston, but managed to buy again in Steveston. My kids love living here so I wanted to stay here.
“But once the grants started opening up, the opportunities started coming.”
That’s when Stewart started to realize her own studio was a distinct possibility, but with rent in Steveston into several thousand dollars a month, she had to look further north in the city.
“The city has an arts program where they’re giving artists studios for $250 a month,” said Stewart, adding that she’s hoping to “sell a lot of art” to make it work.
“I’ll also be running courses on weekends - specializing on equine photography - at a different venue.”
As for capturing the beauty of the horse itself, Stewart said it’s completely subjective, adding that it’s up to people to “shoot it how they see it. It’s not just walking up and taking a snap shot.”
Stewart said anyone visiting her studio on Saturday and for the next few weeks will be able to admire her work shot around the world, which includes the revered “blood-sweating” or “heavenly” horses, as they’re called in China.
Stewart’s grand opening of KJ’s Studio goes Oct. 2 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Studio 4, 8800 Hazelbridge Way (on the corner on Sexsmith Street).
For further information, check out www.KJ.studio.