An Evolving Technoculture

Photography has always been as much artifice as art. But software that seamlessly meshes images from unrelated settings has escalatead the debate over the validity of photographic reality. "Metamorphoses: Photography in the Electronic Age" (Aperture, $18.50) is a state-of-the-art look at the evolution of electronically altered images through the eyes of photographers and curators. The pictures range from serene to disturbing. In a series inspired by old family albums, Martina Lopez places stark turn-of-the-century poses in a vivid modern landscape. Pedro Meyer juxtaposes religious symbols (an angel, Jesus) with pictures of everyday Mexican life. Shelly J. Smith creates montages from a wide variety of sources. The overall effect is of a technoculture in transition. Someday, these pictures may seem as primitive as the ghostly prints of a pinhole camera.