Originally, when I first looked at this negative, I thought that photographer John Capewell was just taking a cute picture of twins in what looks like a barn. As I was starting to prepare the photo for this post I got to really look at it and wondered if there was something more to it.
I noticed that the floor was visible through the feet of the girl on the right. They aren’t blurred as is the case in a lot of these old photos where the subject suddenly moved during the exposure. The foot is fairly clear, but it’s translucent. Was Capewell getting crafty with some in-camera double exposures? I’m not sure how he did it, but it’s almost perfect.
Here is the entire 7 inch by 5 inch glass negative.
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!