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Atelier Nadeau Books

A list of Books by Luis Nadeau is available here


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New Book Release


The Encyclopedia of Printing, Photographic and Photomechanical Processes, second edition.



“This extensive work continues the tradition of exhaustiveness Nadeau has staked out in earlier books ...”
Print Collector’s Newsletter

“Luis Nadeau has rendered a service to the international community of photohistorians. Indeed, no comparable guide through the terminological maze is now in existence, as far as is known.”
History of Photography


The Second Edition:

This encyclopedia is the culmination of over 30 years of research on Printing, Photographic and Photomechanical processes. It seeks to clarify the confusion which has resulted from the invention of several hundred such processes. Name any one of them then ask the following questions: WHAT is it? WHO invented it? WHEN? WHERE do you go to find full technical details about it? This encyclopedia, with nearly 2,000 entries and 6,000 references in six languages, provides the answers.

Here is a sample of the questions answered by this encyclopedia: What is the difference between a CALOTYPE and a COLLOTYPE? What are the most permanent color photographs ever produced? What technologies have been used to make fakes, facsimiles, and counterfeit money? Are INKJET prints real photographs?

More About the Encylopedia


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About Luis Nadeau

Luis Nadeau became involved in the archival aspects of photography in the early 1970s.[i] Coming from a background in conventional photography, he took a course in the then new field of conservation and restoration of photographic materials, offered by the Visual Studies Workshops in collaboration with the George Eastman House, in Rochester, New York, U.S.A.

VSW, Rochester, 1974. Perhaps the earliest formal course that offered university credits on the conservation of photographic materials. The man on the right holding a camera is Henry Wilhelm who attended part of the programme. © 1974 by Luis Nadeau VSW, Rochester, 1974. Perhaps the earliest formal course that offered university credits on the conservation of photographic materials. The man on the right holding a camera is Henry Wilhelm who attended part of the programme. © 1974 by Luis Nadeau

Rochester was a turning point for Nadeau, who quickly realized that the fields of conservation and restoration of photographic materials were in their infancy. The formal academic programs were not sufficient and only those comfortable with foreign languages and an autodidactic approach could eventually contribute to the advancement of this new discipline. This suited him perfectly. Born with an insatiable curiosity and unquenchable thirst for knowledge, he used to read over four hundred books a year, year after year.

During the 1970s he repeatedly went to Europe, researching in patent offices, museums, national libraries and the still mostly intact Alphonse Poitevin research laboratory, rue Saint-Jacques, in Paris. From 1976 to 1979 he was also the official Canadian delegate of NAPA (National Association for Photographic Art –now CAPA)[ii] at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie (RIP)[iii] in Arles in the south of France, and was a regular contributor to its quarterly, Camera Canada, then edited by well-known Canadian photographer, Freeman Patterson.


Read more: About Luis Nadeau


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The Fresson Process

The Author's Fresson Coating Lab

Fresson Coating Lab Fresson Coating Lab

The coater is in the background. The process requires several coatings, ranging from relatively thick to extremely thin. Shown here is the paper drying after the baryta coating operation. Note in the foreground on the floor, a roller-mill used to grind solid pigments. Unlike typical “pigment prints” made by PHOTOMECHANICAL inkjet printers which often rely on dyes, Fresson uses pure pigments resulting with permanent images that are not sensitive to the  nature of the support.

This Fresson operation will be looking for a new home in the upcoming years.


Fresson Print Development Fresson Print Development

After exposure the pigmented paper is ‘developed’ with an abrasive solution of water and sawdust. The operation takes place in white light, as shown here, and can last from 2 to 20 minutes. It can even be resumed after the print has dried, days later. No other photographic process offers this kind of control.


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Collection Highlights

You will find more information on the reproduction technologies illustrated here in the galleries on this site. For extensive descriptions, essays and comprehensive references, the reader is invited to consult the latest edition of Luis Nadeau’s The Encyclopedia of Printing, Photographic and Photomechanical Processes. For the identification of processes the reader should consult the author’s upcoming Guide to the Identification of Prints, Photographs, and Documents. Featuring a Comprehensive Chronology of Reproduction Technologies.

The Research Library

penrosejournalcover_1 The Penrose Journal

The Nadeau collection includes a library of approximately 5,000 volumes, mostly in English, French and German, related to the history and conservation of printing and photographic materials. Among the most interesting items, is a comprehensive set of the Penrose Annual. A Review of the Graphic Arts (1895-1982). As of this writing, this is the only complete collection of the Penrose in Canada and one of two in North America. All 74 volumes (27,000 pp.) have been abstracted and indexed and will be the subject of an upcoming book in the near future: A Review of the Penrose Annual (A Review of the Graphic Arts).

Photographically Illustrated Books

John Borthwick's Montreal John Borthwick's Montreal

Photographically Illustrated Books include a copy of John Borthwick’s Montreal, its history, to which is added biographical sketches, with photographs, of many of its principal citizens.

This large quarto volume (29.5 x 24 cm) was published by Drysdale and Co., in 1875. The availability and suitability of photomechanical processes of the day left publishers with few options when it came to their use of illustrations for their éditions de luxe. The lithographic frontispiece of Sir George E. Cartier is followed by 188 albumen photographs (some are copies of earlier prints), mounted recto and verso of 52 leaves, from the Montreal studio of James Inglis. In 1875 Inglis had the second largest studio in Montreal, second only to William Notman.

Read more: Collection Highlights


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Yahoo Group

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 June 2015 18:28 Written by Administrator Thursday, 21 October 2010 21:48


A mailing list dedicated to the history and conservation of photographic materials.

What is welcome on the List: Anything related to the conservation and restoration of photographic materials, including discussions on technical provenance, authentication, dating, identification, history of reproduction technologies or products, and the chemical or physical treatments of artifacts.

Discussions of procedures (e.g., photomacrography) involving computers, films and digital cameras used in the identification and authentication of photographs are also welcome. This could also include announcements of meetings, conferences, courses, workshops, new books and book reviews. 

What is Not welcome: Digital "restoration" and detailed how-to procedures of historic or "alt-photo" processes are better left to other lists. 

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