(Above) This eBay photo sent in by a reader... love it!

Above and below: photos for the selling of deer antlers. Click on any image for larger view.

Below: trying to document a monkey doll for sale on eBay. Click on any image for larger view.

Below: a series of eBay snapshots showing various views of three plastic figures being sold. Click on any image for larger view.

THERE IS NOT A DAY THAT GOES BY THAT I DO NOT LOOK AT EBAY. I am looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack, the great object or snapshot or whatever catches my eye.

When we think of vernacular photography, we think of the printed image—something you can hold in your hand. If we define a snapshot as something made not so much as “art” but as a documentation of something by everyday people, you begin to see the difference between fine art photography and the snapshot. As a collector of vernacular images, I specifically look for images that stand far and away from the ordinary family snapshot. I look for images that have a sense of mystery, an untold story to tell, strong composition, good tonal values and rarity. I find these images at garage sales, estate sales, and on-line auctions like eBay.

When you think of eBay, hundreds of thousands of people shoot pictures not as art, but as documents to try and sell their product. So, given this definition of vernacular photography, wouldn’t these digital images on eBay be considered as such? I ask, why not?

Hidden in plain sight on eBay are these digital images (made simply to document a product for sale), that I think are rather interesting in their own right. What do you think?