When I was testing to see if my technique of “printing” these glass negatives digitally would work, this was one of the first negatives I grabbed. It worked out better than I expected so I pushed ahead shooting all of the 5 inch by 7 inch glass negatives in this collection.
I’m not sure where they are, but the weather was probably pleasant and a walk in the woods was in order. As usual, John Capewell had his camera equipment in tow which was an arduous affair of boxes and tripods, but I like to think people had more patience back then. Thankfully he took his gear along!
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!
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Last Week: Over the River and Through the Woods