Brent Townshend

Hometown Toronto, Canada
Lives and Works Menlo Park, CA and Montreal, Quebec
PhD, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Brent Townshend Gallery Art

Modernbook Gallery, San Francisco, CA

Brent Townshend is an artist and inventor from Toronto, Canada. He first became seriously involved with photography as an art form while working on a Doctoral degree at Stanford University. With the darkroom competing with the computer laboratory for his time, he started in black & white 35mm photography and then, in a quest for greater fidelity to reality, moved to a field 4x5 camera and then to color large-format work. During this period he pursued two lines of exploration in parallel: one following the California landscape traditions seeded by Ansel Adams and Edward Weston; the other in street photography with an aim for immediacy.

After graduation, Townshend followed a career in scientific research working at AT&T Bell Laboratories, teaching at McGill University and Stanford, and then started a sequence of successful high-tech companies. All of these focussed on signal processing—how to manipulate and process digital data to extract information or improve its visualization. Meanwhile, he continued his photographic explorations. He studied darkroom techniques under Georges Fèvre, who was the personal printer for Cartier-Bresson and printed for Koudelka, Doisneau, and Lartigue. With John Schults of Reuters he learned the realities of photojournalism. He worked on fashion photography with Atelier Chardon Savard in Paris and explored commercial and studio photography with Hélène Vedrenne at the Paris Photographic Institute.

Ultimately, it came time to combine his technical background with photography. As an inventor with over 40 patents, his combination of science and an artistic purpose was a natural progression. In 2005, he began working on ultra-wide angle, high dynamic range digital photography. Using sets of high-resolution digital photos to cover a scene both in viewpoint and light intensity, he developed novel processes and software for capturing and displaying images. These photos capture angles and light that are seldom seen even though most are taken in large public spaces.

Courtesy of Modernbook Gallery

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