Barbara Ess, an artist and musician best known for plumbing the limits of perception with a pinhole camera, died on Thursday at her home in Elizaville, N.Y. She was 76.

The cause was cancer, according to Bard College, where she was an associate professor of photography.

In a varied career rooted in the downtown Manhattan art scene of the 1970s and ’80s, Ms. Ess sang and played guitar and bass in Y Pants, the Static and other “No Wave” bands — hard-charging rejoinders to the perceived commercialism of punk — and published an influential mixed-media zine.

But it was in 1983 that she found her muse when she happened upon an article about pinhole cameras in The New York Times. Admitting light directly through a tiny aperture with no focus mechanism, a pinhole camera was easy for Ms. Ess to build at home. Without the distortion of a lens,

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Naomi Rosenblum, who wrote about the history of photography and helped elevate it as an art form, died on Feb. 19 at her home in Long Island City, Queens. She was 96.

The cause was congestive heart failure, her family said.

Dr. Rosenblum was the author of seminal works that helped bring scholarship and recognition to photography as a creative art form after practitioners, notably Alfred Stieglitz, had revolutionized the field by defying the conventions of subject matter and composition — creating images in the rain and snow, for example, or of a pattern that the sea cut in the sand.

Histories of photography traditionally focused on England, France and the United States. But Dr. Rosenblum’s major contribution, “A World History of Photography” (1984), provided a true global perspective. The book was translated into several languages and remains a standard text in the field.

Her other major work, “A

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Benedict J. Fernandez, a professed “photo-anthropologist” who captured the persona of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the fervor of the King era’s protest movements before mentoring a generation of professional photographers, died on Jan. 31 at his home in Oxford, N.Y. He was 84.

The cause was heart failure, his wife, Siiri Fernandez, said.

Mr. Fernandez became an award-winning photojournalist and documentarian by transforming adversities to his advantage. Raised in East Harlem, where he struggled with reading in school because of undiagnosed dyslexia, he was not yet a teenager when he received a simple Brownie camera as a gift and discovered a new form of expression.

That avocation became his profession in the early 1960s when Mr. Fernandez, a graduate of Haaren High School in Manhattan, was laid off from his job as a crane operator at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which was being phased out.


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