My guess is that John Capewell gained a reputation as the local amateur shutterbug, and parents were all too glad to let him capture their offspring to glass negatives for posterity — freezing that fleeting first year or so of a child’s life on a photographic emulsion. My guess is that Capewell volunteered himself to takee these candid moments with his camera. Having looked over the many negatives shot by the man I know that he was fascinated by the photographic process and had a sentimental soft spot particularly for children.
I don’t think this is one of Capewell’s children. It may be a relative’s or neighbor’s.
It was probably shot in Westville, New Jersey where Capewell and his family lived. We’ve seen houses like this in some of the other shots I’ve posted.
I wonder if the chicken wire fence was to keep the children or the livestock in. Folks in South Jersey raised their own food back then.
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!
Last Week: With Some Folks in a Field – Variation