NEW YORK — A photograph begins in fakery (the act of rendering three dimensions as two) and ends in fact (the physical object that is negative or print). Technology has made the situation even more complicated, since now the fact isn’t likely to be physical, unless you think pixels on a screen qualify.
So a tension between false and real has always defined photography, a tension that has become that much more intriguing in this digital age. Two new shows at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop” and “After Photoshop: Manipulated Photography in the Digital Age,” look at this tension past and present. They run through Jan. 27 and May 27, respectively.