Photographer and musician Barbara Ess dies aged 73

© 3A Gallery, New York

Ess was involved in bands such as Y Pants and Disband during New York’s no wave movement.

Barbara Ess has died aged 73. As Artforum reports, the New York photographer, writer and musician, who was involved in the city’s post-punk no wave movement, died yesterday (4 March). Tim Davis, a fellow professor at Bard College, confirmed Ess’ passing on social media last night. 

In 1979, Ess teamed with Gail Vachon and Virginia Piersol to form the all-women trio Y Pants. Ess was also involved in other no wave-era bands such as Disband and the Static. More recently, Ess worked with filmmaker Peggy Ahwesh on an album titled Radio Guitar. The 2001 project was released via Thurston Moore’s label Ecstatic Peace.

Elsewhere, Ess launched an influential mixed-media title called Just Another Asshole in 1978. As a photographer, Ess was renowned for her large-scale photographs produced using a pinhole camera. It’s a technique she discovered in 1983.

In the late ’90s, Ess joined the photography department at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. She taught at the university up until her passing.