"The term covers (and promises) a lot, and a quick Google search fills in quite a bit of the territory. One enthusiast snagged the domain name, but there are plenty of others in the game.
One site notes that vernacular photography is '...one of the most affordable areas of collecting and therefore offers wonderful opportunities for the beginner to acquire beautiful examples of photographic art at very reasonable prices.' gargantuaphotos.com poses the basic question: 'Why would I buy someone else's crappy old photos?', and thefoundphoto.com is another gallery/vendor.
Boston University hosted Vernacular Reframed, 'a two-day interdisciplinary conference examining issues in vernacular photography' in November 2004, but lots of enthusiasts are in the game as well: Square America, bighappyfunhouse.com, and Junior Bonner blogs about the phenomenon. Some specialize in specific genres, like photobooth and African American Vernacular Photography. Ookpik specializes in Michigan photographs, happy palace has an eclectic (and ever-growing) mix, greywater posts 'photographs from films I processed that I found in old cameras...', and eBay has a Vernacular Photography Enthusiasts group with more than 100 members.
Serious scholarship is not far behind: Electronic Journal of Vernacular Photography may be stillborn, but Innocence regained? Or just another kind of fiction? from eye magazine suggests that there are many who take the medium seriously. One is Geoffrey Batchen who taught a course at CUNY's Graduate Center (there's a video of a lecture he gave at Brown)
Quite a few museums have had vernacular photography shows, including Kodak and the Rise of Amateur Photography at New York's Metropolitan Museum, and this grant proposal from the Indiana University Archives Seeing the Color of America: Digitizing the Charles Cushman Collection is evidence of archival interest in the medium.
My friend Joan Larcom reminds me of one of the authorities who has done the most in this realm, Michael Lesy, and his coinage of the term demotic photography, which I find a good supplement to 'vernacular'. A New York Times story notes that:
'In the past, Mr. Lesy has ruffled some academic feathers by arguing that what he calls 'demotic photography,' like family snapshots or picture postcards, deserves the same level of scholarly study traditionally given only to art photography... 'my whole intention is to subvert the [art photography] canon... There are possibilities that go beyond the safe definitions of what an artist is and what the camera is used for. ...Academics... deal with photographs as aesthetic, intellectual constructs, or as integers in philosophical or linguistic argument. That's not all they are. They're slippery and deeply emotionally charged. A photograph is a thing which, to use an old scholarly word, needs to be 'unpacked.' There's the manifest content, then half a dozen layered contents.'
(NYT 17 Dec 2005 sec B pg 9)"
(Hugh Blackmer, oook.info)
"That the powers that be - and I realise that there is no great conspiracy of authority here; the cables themselves tell us that! - appear to be playing whack-a-mole with the WikiLeaks website makes me think that they don't really understand the problem in front of them. In fact, it leads me to suspect that the portrayal of WikiLeaks as a website might have been a brilliant piece of misdirection. People in general don't tend to grasp information theory, but it's sometimes particularly easy to laugh at just how little understanding some sections of the establishment appear to have:
'The Defense Department demands that WikiLeaks return immediately to the U.S. government all versions of documents obtained directly or indirectly from the Department of Defense databases or records' (Kevin Poulsen, 5 August 2010, 8:44 pm)
There are, I think, two important things about WikiLeaks. The first is the use of technology -of the internet and cryptography - to facilitate the collection of information from anonymous sources. The second is the fact that information is available in a digitised form. This latter property means that leaking a gigabit of information is hardly more difficult than leaking a single bit. If someone has the information and the motivation to leak something, it will be leaked. All that WikiLeaks does is to solicit this information actively. It's a brand, and an organisation, and a network, but it's not really a website.
Still, something must be done! And trying to shut down websites does look like doing something."
Poulsen, K. (2010, 5 August, 8:44 pm). "Pentagon Demands WikiLeaks ‘Return’ All Classified Documents." Wired.com August 2010. from http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/08/pentagon-demands-wikileaks/.
"Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. It also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features. Tor provides the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy.
Individuals use Tor to keep websites from tracking them and their family members, or to connect to news sites, instant messaging services, or the like when these are blocked by their local Internet providers. Tor's hidden services let users publish web sites and other services without needing to reveal the location of the site. Individuals also use Tor for socially sensitive communication: chat rooms and web forums for rape and abuse survivors, or people with illnesses.
Journalists use Tor to communicate more safely with whistleblowers and dissidents. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) use Tor to allow their workers to connect to their home website while they're in a foreign country, without notifying everybody nearby that they're working with that organization.
Groups such as Indymedia recommend Tor for safeguarding their members' online privacy and security. Activist groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recommend Tor as a mechanism for maintaining civil liberties online."
(The Tor Project, Inc.)
"Wikileaks, with its simple 'keep the bastards honest' ethos, aims to discourage unethical behaviour by airing governments' and corporations' dirty laundry in public, putting their secrets out there in the public realm. The site won Index on Censorship's 2008 freedom of expression award because it's an invaluable resource for anonymous whistleblowers and investigative journalists.
Among Wikileaks' recent triumphs are its publication of top-secret internet censorship lists. The blacklists from Australia, Thailand, Denmark and Norway demonstrate exactly how censorship systems are abused to suppress free expression. The Thai list featured sites criticising the country's royal family and the Australian blacklist turned out to include a school canteen consultancy. Despite its child porn mandate, less than half of the Australian blacklist were linked to paedophilia. Also on the list were satanic and fetish sites, anti-abortion websites, and sites belonging to a kennel operator and a dentist. Publication highlighted the lack of transparency in the process and gave impetus to the 'No Clean Feed' campaign which opposes the Australian government's internet filter proposals."
(Emily Butselaar, guardian.co.uk)
"The cyberSM project was an attempt to create a real time, visual, auditory, and tactile communication in the world of cyberspace. In the first cyberSM experiment, the user began to experience what others have only talked about for years: live, tactile communication through a computer environment. The CyberSM project expanded upon text based virtual environments, such as Minitel, MUDs, or most BBSs. It also takes the next logical step toward true telepresence by employing 3D graphics, live audio, and direct physical stimulation to allow participants to physically 'touch' each other over distances.The cyberSM project allows the establishment of trans_gender appearances, identities and entities by letting the participants choose their own visual appearance from a large databank of digitized human bodies. Once chosen, the participents send the image of their virtual self to the others on the network. The body thus becomes a visual fantasy.Central to the cyberSM project is the ability to transmit physical stimuli from one participant to the other. This is made possible through the use of stimulator suits connected over international telephone lines, which allow the users to remotely stimulate one-another's bodies. Not only does this physical element of communication allow the CyberSM project to more closely model inter-human communication, it creates a new form of interaction. Throughout the cyberSM connection, participants have a physical dialogue, but they remain anonymous the whole time."