The Shaggy Professor

Shaggy-Professor-detail It looks like our photographer, John B. Capewell of Westville, New Jersey, was having a bit of fun with the family dog while practicing his studio technique.

It was a remarkably well behaved dog being that it held the pipe in its mouth and maintained a pose during what was probably an uncomfortably long exposure.


As with all of the photographs in the Capewell Glass Negative Collection,  I placed this 5 inch x 7 inch glass negative on a lightbox and shot it with a digital camera locked down on a tripod. The processing was done digitally on a Mac using Adobe Photoshop.


The Capewell Glass Negative collection is a series of about 200 5-inch by 7-inch glass negatives shot early in the 20th Century by John Batt Capewell (1878-1951) of Westville, New Jersey. John passed the negatives down to his son Henry who left them in his wife’s possession upon his passing. Henry’s widow didn’t know what to do with them and didn’t particularly want them so she offered them to my father who couldn’t turn down anything. Ultimately I wound up with them and thought I would one day have photographic prints struck from them. That didn’t happen, but I came up with the digital workaround mentioned above. Many of these pictures have not been seen in a century, and I’m proud to be presenting them today.

 At first, I did not know who the people were in the photographs. I have a box of ephemera that accompanied the negatives and snagged a few clues from that as far as the Capewell name. I did some research on the internet and had a few false starts and wrong turns, but the readers of these posts have provided a remarkable amout of research and detail. I’m amazed at what people have turned up sifting through public records and such!

This story continues to evolve. Every Thursday, I will post a Capewell picture or two. If you recognize somebody in one of the shots or have any information or just want to drop a line, feel free to comment!

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