Fish Town Collection’s evocative tone set with Epson monochrome technology

Evocative imagery of a man with his head in his hands in aguish, intense conversations over fresh stock and the completion of meticulous checking and packaging in laboratory like conditions. These are among the impactful photographs included in the Fish Town Collection.

The stunning body of work by photo journalist Steve Thornton documents the fortunes of Grimsby over 30 years. It records the working life of filleters and dock workers, the ice house at work, buying and selling, early morning auctions and more.

The capture of these unique moments in time is made even more impactful by the use of monochrome to convey industrial starkness and an emotive, raw honesty.

His reportage approach follows the local industry’s response to the introduction of EU Regulations in 1990 to Brexit in 2020. It shows how, according to Steve, its transformation from a ‘mephitic shanty town to a seafood science lab’ significantly impacted many small family-owned businesses that could not afford to adapt to meet Europe’s regulations.

Essential to the collection’s look and feel was the choice of paper and the way the images were produced. Explains Steve: “In 1990 I used Nikon F3 HP 35mm film cameras and Ilford Gallery paper. 30 years later I wanted to recreate the same results, with the same tonal range. I didn’t want to see a huge difference. The decision to use my Nikon D5 35mm digital cameras and similar focal length lenses was easy but I needed to find the right paper. I looked around and saw something on YouTube that talked about Epson fibre based exhibition paper. I tested some samples and found the finish was unbelievable. You can go from 100% black to 95% white to add richness and detail. Many of my images have people in silhouette but you can still see the highlights on the sleeves or the trousers. The level of detail is incredible.”

The 10-colour Epson SureColor SC-P900 created the prints using ultra-chrome archival colour ink sets. Steve comments: “I always work in soft proofing and what you see on my 5k monitors is what is printed. I get 100% exactly what I want. If I want to make a certain tonal value 5% lighter, I can achieve just that.”

The collection of 120 prints, featuring previously unpublished, digitally remastered images, is available in to buy in the Signature series (hand signed and embossed onto A3+ stock), Studio series (same stock at a smaller size of A4) and Limited Edition series (larger size of A2 and only 10 per print). All three are printed the Epson SC-P900 on 325gsm stock soft gloss finish Epson Traditional Photo Paper, a fibre based exhibition paper.

The easy to use Epson SC-P900 photo printer with customisable user interface has been developed with outstanding print quality as standard. Increased black density for better gradation, deeper blacks, and less graininess, is achieved through UltraChrome Pro 10 ink. Its F10 printhead and black enhance overcoat technology (BEO) for finer detail and texture in black areas. The blue colour gamut allows the user to more accurately reproduce the image seen on screen.

The Fish Town Collection will be exhibited at a special inaugural venue in Grimsby before going on a UK gallery tour. More information and images is available at

IMAGE: The Fish Town Collection images by Steve Thornton were produced on an Epson SureColor SC-P900

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Key facts

  • Steve Thornton used Epson fibre based exhibition paper printed from an Epson SureColor SC-P900 for the Fish Town exhibition

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