Yass was born in London, where she studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and at Goldsmiths’ College. Her distinctive photographic style began accidentally, when a colour film loaded incorrectly was processed as a negative. By combining a colour negative with a positive image in a single transparency, Yass’s photographs create a hyper-real world. Her early work explored the people and institutions that support the visual arts. However, since 1995, Yass has been photographing empty spaces as varied as a steel factory, psychiatric hospital, meat market, and the backstage area of the Barbican Theatre in London. The vivid colours created by her photographic technique suggest the psychic energy of these overlooked spaces. In 2002 Yass was nominated for the Turner Prize.