I for One, inkjet print on Tecco Iridium Silver Gloss ISG250, 43 x 31.5 cm. /16.9 x 12.4 inches, edition 100, signed and numbered on the backside, 2015
A photograph by Josephine Pryde is never simply pictorial. Rather, the Berlin-based British artist accesses the full material and discursive range of what we might take to be “photography” in her practice. And so an image’s placement along that spectrum – whether in the idiom of studio portraiture or medical imaging, an analog photogram or Giclée digital print – always bears significance too. In I for one, Pryde’s, Paris is offered up, appearing as a stand-in for the golden age of I: modernity, which is here clutched in hand as an Eiffel Tower souvenir. In the work, twin iPhones appear, one encased in a bejeweled cover inlaid with the famed tour. “This pure sign, almost empty,” Barthes said of the structure – porous but a point of observation and transmission, its beholders up/downgraded to technicians. Presumably, it is a woman who serves as operator in Pryde’s photograph. Nails varnished in junior exec red, she transmits less the ecstasy than the luxury and the agony of communication. This work – its background enhanced in post-production with a golden fill (for creative flourish) – has been printed on a high metallic gloss paper. Enclosing this is a black border, hand-drawn to approximate the frame of an iPad screen. Pryde’s image, however, is larger than a tablet and does not rotate. Rather, it is to be hung on a wall in a fixed position, possibly behind glass. As the savvy collector might say of this work: I, for one, would take it as a symbol of the always already-passé, a recognition of photography’s claim to the that-has-been.