PHOTO FLOOD SAINT LOUIS

A surge of images along the banks of the Big Muddy.

Mini-Flood 37: Bruton Stroube Studios

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photograph by Dan Henrichs Photography, St. Louis

A commercial photography and videography firm for more than 30 years, Bruton Stroube Studios has crafted some of the most iconic advertising visuals to ever originate in St. Louis. A historic, 55,000+ square foot space houses their studios, editing bays, props rooms, kitchens, and more.

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photograph by Michelle Bates

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photograph by Jackie Johnson

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photograph by Allen Casey

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photograph by Jason Gray

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photograph by Scott Jackson

Built in the 1891-92, the building that is home to Bruton Stroube Studios originally housed the Beethoven Conservatory of Music. Located in the lavish Lucas Place neighborhood (the city’s first private place, with only two surviving structures), the Conservatory was instrumental to the early cultural development of St. Louis. In fact, the Conservatory’s Director during the building’s construction, August Waldauer, was one of the founders of an orchestra (Musical Union) that would later become the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Although several orchestras did perform at the Conservatory while it was located at 2301 Locust Street, my research was unable to confirm whether or not this was a venue for this early phase of the SLSO.

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photograph by Allen Casey

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photograph by Michelle Bates

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photograph by Dan Henrichs Photography, St. Louis

After the Beethoven Conservatory of Music moved to a new building in the Central West End in 1904, the Otis Elevator Company moved in, and made several expansions to the building over subsequent decades. During this same period, virtually all remaining traces of the original Lucas Place neighborhood were obliterated, including the street address, as Lucas became Locust. Although the Conservatory building was no doubt constructed during a period of phase out for St. Louis’ original Gilded Age neighborhood, it remained (and remains) as a testament to one of the city’s most prominent historical periods. Luckily, this history was not lost on the Otis Elevator Company, so most of the work that they did on the exterior of the building was at least reminiscent of the earlier architectural design.

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photograph by Dan Henrichs Photography, St. Louis

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photograph by Jackie Johnson

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photograph by Michelle Bates

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photograph by Scott Jackson

In 1994, Greg Stroube teamed up with two others to form Brouton Stroube Studios, a commercial photography practice with projects ranging from Budweiser shoots in the studio to on location productions in far-flung places around the world. In 2015, BSS employs more than 30 regular employees, an army of creatives that can bring to life almost any client concept imaginable. However, the business was not always so herculean. In the beginning, it took the ingenuity of a very small, but meticulous, team to see projects through to completion. Happily, this philosophy of innovation and collaboration lives on as a core ingredient, something that is easily observed when the team is hard at work (or play).

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photograph by Jason Gray

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photograph by Scott Jackson

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photograph by Dan Henrichs Photography, St. Louis

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photograph by Michelle Bates

Today, Bruton Stroube Studios is more than a purveyor of high quality commercial imagery. It is a true nexus for the photo community. Several times a year, BSS hosts events in its studios that bring together creatives from around the city (like the popular Slo-Mo Duels). That said, the events seem less social outreach than real passion projects for staff, who are encouraged by the business’ partners to follow where their creativity leads them. Another example of this is the popular “Garbage Pail Kids- Where Are They Now?” series that blew up on social media recently. Whatever these guys and girls are working on, whether professional or personal, they command attention.

It should be no surprise then that they also make some darn good beer onsite (I had a delicious stout). To see what else they have brewing, be sure to follow them on social media, and don’t pass up an opportunity to peak inside for yourself on the next occasion that they open for an event.

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photograph by Scott Jackson

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photograph by Dan Henrichs Photography, St. Louis

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photograph by Dan Henrichs Photography, St. Louis

MAP:
MF37

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Author: Jason Gray

Jason Gray is a photographer in St. Louis who specializes in objective documentation.

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