Street Photographer Demonized Online for Taking Pictures at Ventura County Fair


One street photographer in California is the target of an Internet mob and it’s all because he decided to take some pictures at the Ventura County Fair.

Lalu Fatoni from Pexels.

Some parents and fair attendees interpreted his photography in less than savory ways, with some labeling him a pedophile, which led to somebody even calling the cops on photographer Joshua Rosenthal. By his own admission, he often photographs people without prior permission because, as PetaPixel quotes, “I photograph people, often with no prior approval because the photos speak more to the moment…One can’t capture life when it’s being posed.”

It was apparently this prior lack of approval that got the cops called on Rosenthal in the first place, though it was the Internet, where he was also called a “piece of s**t,” that led to him being the target of a mob and the self-perpetuating rage machine that often is social media.

The post reads in part, “Warning! Hey moms and dads, beware of this P.O.S. at the fair…He’s going around taking pictures of (in this case) little girls, in dresses. You can see him walk by and snap a picture of a little girl. I didn’t know I had captured him doing it until I got home and looked at the video I shot.”

Comments underneath the post claimed that he was everything from a human trafficker to someone pointing out that he was using film photography which was a tacit admission that he, and we quote directly, “He prabably [sic] develops prints himself. Possibly a perv. Undercover cops should follow him.”

Some other gems include:

“This is so sickening! These type [sic] of people need to be killed period!!!”


“Wow all these disgusting male photographers defending his actions. YOU DO NOT TAKE PICTURES OF KIDS.”

We must emphasize that all of this was written with nothing more than the implication that Rosenthal was doing this, no actual evidence of that. So, in short, he was proclaimed to death and called everything under the sun because he was taking pictures in a public place at a public event.

The police commented on the incident with the following: “The subject was contacted by police officers at the Fair on that date and has been contacted again today for questioning…No crime occurred during this incident.”

But no one is really interested in that story.

In his defense, Rosenthal explained, “No one wants to talk to me about what I did…Let’s not forget that a moral compass does not constitute the law. What one sees as being ‘wrong’ is not illegal. In today’s day and age, if you see something you don’t like, ask about it… I’d be willing to bet there is another story. …Sorry I scared you (parents of some random girl). I understand that one wants to protect their kids. But protect them from what? Check out my photography guys, you be the judge.”

Further, PetaPixel reports that he will be contacting the American Civil Liberties Union about all of this.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

What a load of codswallop, anyone can take photographs in a public place , It is a reaction to Trumps idiotic tweets, do these Fwits really want all surveillance cameras removed from the streets?

Agreed. This is beyond ridiculous. People worry more about a man with a camera, than a man with a deadly weapon. Absurd.

This means the death of “street photography”. A similar event happened to me in a park, in Canada several years ago. I was strolling and taking pictures in this park, not of children… but some mother assumed I was photographing kids and called the police who stopped me, interrogated me and took a look at the images I recorded. No children to be found on my camera. It is a sad, sad world for “street” photographers.

John, this has nothing to do with Trump. I’m not a fan either but people look absolutely comical blaming literally everything on him. It’s the lefts “thanks Obama.” As for the topic at hand, its good that people have their eyes open to creeps and pedophiles, unfortunately a lot of people are idiots. This is why I put little value in people being exposed until they’re proven guilty in court, with actual evidence. If this played out a bit differently, this poor photographer could have been forever labeled a pedo in the court of public opinion.

Unfortunately in todays climate, you could get sued by tree huggers and animal rights activists for taking a picture of anything without prior approval or compensation.

So the person taking a video of the crowd saw someone taking pictures of the crowd and labelled him a pervert and a p.o.s. Hmmm…I guess if you’re using a cell phone camera, and more than likely posting to social media, it’s ok if you get a few people in the background. Seems a bit hypocritical to me. “Hey everyone! Look at this picture I took of this guy taking pictures while I was taking pictures. Can you believe this pervert?! Let’s kill him!”

Let’s compare the number of children on the photos with the number of children on the video. Who ever has captured the most goes to jail.

Guess who it will be.

The times have definitely changed. When I was starting out in photography, I would go to playgrounds and Halloween events to get candid photos of children. It was good practice in trying to record emotions as children are more open in expressing their feelings. I was an older female and would willingly engage with parents, telling them what I was doing and offered my card and access to all photos taken. Male photographers could not do the same thing and would be questioned or asked to stop. I no longer take photos of children without prior consent of the parents. Two things have changed: the increasing fear in our world and the popularity of street photography. People are suspicious of having their public emotions recorded by strangers or becoming unwilling subjects of our photos. It is an invasion of privacy to some extent. The numbers of street photographers have increased the likelihood that our subjects will object, if we are discovered. I am much more careful in photographing people.

In today’s world people are becoming paranoid about too many of the wrong things and not paying attention to the unwrong things. Maybe if we show more respect to others, it may be a better world.
Senior Beginner Canadian Photographer 😉

Some idiots are do quick to judge, especially after someone is taking videos and posting them online. Does that mean he’s a pervert? Not saying he is, but how would he like it if he was accused of the same thing?

I’ve always taken photos at fairs. The neon lights and people enjoying small moments of joy are the best subjects. I’ve never had a problem, but I also dont label where I take the pictures.
Hope they don’t bring their kids to any tourist destinations, bc they’re in for a lot of unnecessary stress lol

Social media is a scourge of our times. An outlet for those with no common sense to exhibit rage against those they don’t even know, without any knowledge of that which they are raging against.

Funny that many of the comments are concerned about their kids, or themselves, being photographed in public. Do they not realize they are on camera almost everywhere they go? It’s this type of overreaction that will eventually destroy all semblance of a civilized society.

I’ll go against the grain here and say that it does seem wrong to be taking photos of children without the permission of their parents. Sure, if it’s a big crowd shot then have at it but a portrait of one child is more personal. It’s difficult to tell from context if that was what he was doing but looking at his portfolio, there are a lot of portraits of people hiding their faces and clearly uncomfortable at what he’s doing. Illegal, no, annoying, definitely.

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