Letters Cape

Upon returning home to Clinton, New Jersey, Jan suggested to her husband that they try out a similar project with their photos. The couple pored over their extensive collection and started seeing letters pop out of the photos: an “s” in the clouds, a “t” on a fence. When they cropped and zoomed in to focus on the shape, though, some of the photos ended up blurry or pixelated, so the Capeces embarked on a new photo project. They started seeking out letters everywhere they went, never moving anything for a photo, or cropping or zooming in.

“We’re fussy about the photos we take now; it’s got to be really good to get into our inventory,” says Jan. “It gets more difficult because we’ve taken so many photos, and people have favorites.”

Before starting their art business, Jan and the kids—Emily, now 24, and Greg, 28—spent each summer in Orleans, and Chris drove up from New Jersey on his weekends off from Nokia, a telecommunications company where he has worked since 1984. When they began Letters from the Cape, they carted the materials between their two houses so they could always fulfill an order. Jan now lives part-time in Orleans to give more attention to the growing business. The duo looks forward to Chris’s retirement within the next couple of years, so they can both focus 100 percent on Letters.

“This [work] started as a summer fling,” Jan says. “People say you’re on vacation and, well, [it is], sort of, but I am working. My office just happens to be at the beach, and we love it.”