We are all aware of the damage that COVID-19 has caused to society. However, through the difficulties of the disease, many have been asked to do a deep internal assessment of their personal lives and to reflect on dreams previously stored on a shelf.
Claudia McKithen, a resident of Lawrenceville, NJ, was one such person. The proud Colombian immigrant raised in Queens, NY, has spent the isolated and pandemic-scarred year considering returning to her passion for photography. Her thinking led her to open a photography studio right here in the capital.
“I’ve been thinking about taking the leap and opening a studio for a little over a year now,” McKithen said. “I feel that [COVID-19] just pushed me to take the plunge and say to myself “it’s now or never”. I just took a leap of faith and decided to open it. I think it was a great decision.
On Sunday, June 13, Mayor W. Reed Gusciora and the City of Trenton officially welcomed Claudia McKithen Photography at 439 S. Broad Street – Suite 210 with a ribbon cutting, grand opening ceremony. The cheerful opening was a familiar sentiment for McKithen.
“I actually had a studio nine years ago, almost 10, on South Clinton Avenue,” McKithen said. “Unfortunately I had to shut it down at the time, but I still had that little bug. So, I felt like it was the right time for me to get back into it and go full throttle again. and open a place.
Between McKithen’s old studio and today’s new, friends and acquaintances continually asked McKithen to use his photography skills for events. Whether it’s parties, weddings, graduations, etc. – for any form of celebration, McKithen is trusted and called upon to do the job.
Although she finds great joy in photographing events and providing still images of precious moments in the lives of many people (and will continue to do so through her new venture), McKithen felt he missed something without its own photography space.
“I feel like I’m leaving a lot on the table by not having my studio,” she said. “I am often called for events. It can be birthday parties, graduation parties or even weddings, [but] my specialty is mainly portraiture; working with families, taking pictures of children.
For McKithen, it is important that these special moments are captured with photos. As she launches her newly relaunched studio, she looks forward to providing the Trenton community with lasting memories.
She said: “In Trenton the population is overwhelmingly a minority and being a minority myself I feel like I can offer a lot to the community in terms of providing great photos at affordable prices that people can simply have on their fireplace.”
Although it’s been several years since McKithen had her own studio to share her work with, she’s grateful that there has been at least one positive push that has come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sometimes we’re like, ‘Oh, this is a good opportunity, but I’ll wait, because maybe it’s not the right time’, or you don’t have enough capital, or so many things different things that might come into play, but I think COVID definitely gave me the push I needed to take that step,” McKithen said. “So many bad things have happened and so many people have suffered so many losses and so on. Luckily in my family we didn’t, but it makes you think; we have this life, why not just do it now?”
For more information about Claudia McKithen Photography, visit: www.claudiamckithen.com