We’re Celebrating our 50th Anniversary!

Looking back at a half century in the photo and video business.

Happy new year! 2016 is a big one for us because it marks the 50th anniversary of Barlow Productions. In honor of our golden anniversary we’re planning to celebrate all year long.

In 1963 young Ron Barlow left his job as a photographer in the public relations department at Monsanto to go to work for Todd Studios in downtown St. Louis. Then in 1966 Ron set out on his own, purchasing a converted house at 1125 South Brentwood Blvd. in Richmond Heights and opening Barlow Photography, as it was then known. Multiple expansions over the years grew the property to include a studio and editing suite in order to accommodate a move into video production in the late 1970s. When the St. Louis Galleria expanded in 1991, Ron took the opportunity to build a new studio at our present location, 1115 Olivette Executive Parkway, which has happily remained “the Olivette Campus of the North American Headquarters of Barlow Productions” for the past 25 years.

Obviously what makes Barlow Productions special is much more than our studio. It’s our people. We’ve been fortunate to work with lots of amazing and talented people over the last five decades. Many industry professionals got their start here, and we’ve been blessed to have great salesmen, office managers, interns, assistants, producers, editors and photographers on staff throughout the years. Today, Ron still comes into the office every day. His son Patrick runs the company and heads the video department, while Bill Sawalich has lead the photography department for 15 years. (Five more and he’ll become a Third Degree honorary Barlow.) We regularly work with a force of about 20 very talented freelancers—almost all of whom have been with us for a decade or more—to round out the Barlow team. To everyone who has had a hand in our longevity, we offer our sincerest thanks.
While looking back at the many things we’ve seen and done over the years, we were inspired to take a closer look at our archives. So our plan for 2016 is to pull out some of the most interesting, notable and unique photos and videos we’ve made over the years and publish a new image here on the blog every week, along with a little bit about why it holds a special place in our collective Barlow hearts.

To kick things off, this week’s image is one of the oldest in our collection—and certainly one of our favorites. For years it’s hung in the lobby within a group of portraits that greets visitors to the studio. It’s an image Ron made of Richard Nixon back in 1968 when the presidential candidate was speaking to an audience of students and faculty at Washington University in St. Louis. We love the relaxed confidence in the soon-to-be President’s pose, along with those upturned hands (“What? Me worry?”) particularly given what would later befall this most powerful man in the world. But what we mostly love about this picture are the hairstyles. Plus all of those serious faces sitting so politely in the background. Can you imagine any audience behaving so well today?

Nixon’s not the only politician we’ve photographed. Presidents Ford, Reagan and Obama (the latter while campaigning too) have fallen under our gaze, as have Missouri Governors Nixon, Blunt, Carnahan and Ashcroft, and countless more state representatives and candidates for positions from St. Louis City Alderman to Governor of the state. There are plenty of familiar celebrity faces in our archive as well… But for those you’ll have to come back again in the coming weeks.

So until next time, thanks for reading and for being part of the extended Barlow family of friends, clients and colleagues. We wish you all a healthy and prosperous new year!