The photographs in this book, and several others published by P.H. Emerson
between 1887 and 1895, changed the way photography was perceived in the late 19th century. Whereas some photographers imitated painting, using costumes and artificial poses, Emerson emphasized naturalism
or truthfulness in his photography claiming that photography could be an independent art with its own values. Emerson embraced the newly refined photogravure process for its soft and impressionistic qualities illustrating, in this book, honest pictures of East Anglian peasant and fishermen life.