John Pulls the Strings

John-Pulls-the-strings-detHere’s another photograph in which photographer John Capewell wanted to include himself. The string Capewell is tugging on is attached to a shutter release on the camera. His hand is slightly blurred from the motion of triggering the shot. He’s taken a number of pictures of himself using the same technique.

John-Pulls-the-stringsI’m not sure who these people are. It was either a large family or a gathering of people. They don’t look like John Capewell’s relatives, but when I was examining the photo, I recognized a fellow from some of the other photographs.


The man to the left of Capewell was in a few of the glass negatives I have posted earlier. He was the fellow brandishing a pistol and the man with the Ben-Hur Scrap.

Here are some detail sections of this week’s photo. Maybe somebody out there will recognize the face of a relative.John-Pulls-the-strings-low-lft


Upper row to the left

Judging from the clothing worn, this photo is over 100 years old. It’s hard to put a date to it, but it’s certainly early in the 20th century.


Upper row to the right

About The Capewell Glass Negative Collection

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 Dad 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 of placing the negatives on a lightbox and rephotographing them with a digital camera. The “processing” was then done on a computer with image editing software. They came out better than I thought they would so I thought I would show them off to the world on this site. 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 amount of research and detail. I’m amazed at what people have turned up sifting through public records and such!

DSCN1664_negLast: Elijah Wood, Time Traveler

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2 Responses to John Pulls the Strings

  1. Jim Bessing says:

    That’s a great job of redoing the works of Capewell Joe, nice and clear. It is a shame he didn’t I.D.all his work.

  2. Joe_Williams says:

    Thanks, Jim. Some come out better than others depending on the shape of the negative.

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