Freeman Pictures moves to “enclave of creative businesses” after 14 years at one office location

Director Barbara Freeman’s decision to leave her familiar office of 14 years wasn’t an easy one. She could stay at 10 W. Hubbard St. by downsizing her space or staking out new, comparably-sized offices somewhere else.

In the end, she opted for space and recently installed her Freeman Pictures into a 1,600-sq. ft. office at 935 W. Chestnut.

Freeman Pictures and Crossroads had been compatible space-mates for her entire 14 years at 10 W. Hubbard. Then last year two things conspired to change Freeman’s address: Crossroads moved to a business condo at 900 N. Kingsbury and the landlord began rehabbing the building floor-by-floor.

“The landlord was going to gut the third floor we occupied and move us to one-third smaller space on the second floor, where we’d remain permanently,” said Freeman, whose company is one of a few specializing in business films.

“We didn’t need more space but we didn’t need less space, either,” said Freeman about the prospect of shrinking down to 1,000-sq. ft. She and producer Peter Wittleder “decided to open our eyes and see what was out there” as an alternative office.

What they found was an open, bright, built-out loft office space “in an enclave of creative businesses,” she said, that Edit Diva had previously occupied “and was already set up and ready to move in.”

Freeman Pictures opened in 1991 at 22 W. Hubbard, where Crossroads was ensconced, and moved with to them to 10 W. Hubbard the following year.

For many years Freeman directed government security films, “which stopped dead after 9/11,” she said. During a regrouping period, she began honing her still photography skills.

She picked up grants from the Illinois Arts Council; hers was one of 1,400 submissions selected for a series called “The International Open,” showing the way businesses use signage.

For a second series, “Here Comes the Bride,” Freeman found inventive ways to shoot decorative wedding figures that top wedding cakes, which can be seen on

“The best part is that I’m selling the prints,” she said. And her husband, cameraman Ron Bell, is exhibiting his fine art at the Aron Packer Gallery.

Now, business is back, thanks to her many long-standing corporate clients. The difference these days, she noted, “is that clients have to achieve the same quality with smaller budgets.”

“The challenge now is to keep both the business and my photography going and I’m making a strong effort to do so. So far, this year’s been pretty decent.”

Freeman Pictures phone is 312/829-9090.