STATEMENT Townshend's panoramic photo collection - Looking Up - captures graphic forms of the sky framed by man-made structures. Most of his art pieces were developed by stitching several fish-eye views together and creating a new projection from the result. Unlike most uses of stitching to create panoramas, these are centered on the sky with the normal subject relegated to the role of constructing surroundings. WhenTownshend first started taking these he was surprised by the shapes that were formed - shapes he had never noticed before, perhaps because we so seldom look straight up and recognize what is there. Squares were expected, ovals anticipated, but never triangles, arrowheads, eyes, or even a dove.
Brent Townshend is an artist and inventor from Toronto, Canada. Brent 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, Brent started in black & white 35mm photography and then, in a quest for greater fidelity to reality, moved to a feild 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, Brent Townshend followed a career in scientific research working at AT&T Bell Laboratories and teaching at McGill University and Stanford. He then started a sequence of successful high-tech companies. All of these focused on signal processing -- how to manipulate and process digital data to extract information or improve its visualization. Meanwhile, Townshend 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, Brent 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, Townshend’s 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, Brent developed novel processes and software for capturing and displaying images. These photos capture angles and light that are seldom seen, although though most are taken in large public spaces. Brent Townshend now divides his time between Menlo Park, CA and Montréal, Quebec.