was originally a hobbyist off-shot area for photojournalists, over time this genre has proven to be one of the more controversial even or thanks to its ease to perform, in my humble opinion being early in this heliographic hobby i have identified 3 ways or trends this field has and i will be cutthroat with it:
The Jewish Way
, which is about going around shooting people in the face, preferably with a flash. Bonus points if it focus on themes like homelessness (hobo portraits) and quick candid portraits. Most controversy arises from here due to stepping on the edge of many laws and common decency/privacy and the constant law and rights many photographers wave when caught. Rarely focuses on the physical street themselves and sometimes does with the machinations happening there like traffic or machinery.
The Respectful but actually a Spy Way
, the japanese in their seemingly decency when confronted in vast social environments are famous for this one, being polite and acting respectfully while taking shots, sometimes with 2 cameras so he can even gift a polaroid to its subject, was an old way. Nowadays you can link it in social media or in the case of many madmen out there in the middle of the 90's you can pull the move The Beastie Boys made aware in the mainstream when they were shooting videos in Tokyo: Dress like a complete and utter loon (or simply in very flashy, almost phosphorescent colors) to make people become aware of you and by some kind of social stigma ignore your presence in society, but still shoot them in the face. Personally in my tough town this is the best way, act as evident as possible but without stepping toes, for example holding the camera in mid-position while looking at something will make people aware of your intentions without being surprised in my case i actually dressed as a construction worker and as a land surveyor a couple of times
but in the case of actually shooting civilians' portraits without their consent that's a hard one, i never do it because here that stuff doesn't fly, you will get chased or called out by upstanding citizens who are not kidding around 24/7 i know because i did kick a dude once for shooting me in the middle of downtown when he walked by me innocently, also have seen other photogs get mobbed by rural visitors minding their business until they got snapped
And the Original Way
, which is nowadays archaic/unorthodox or even another genre altogether, it's a combination of capturing the city life but having both its protagonists, the pedestrians and the architecture, as main focus of the composition and sometimes even just the buildings itself. It's called by the hipsters as a hybrid between architecture and street, and by some old school fellows as Cityscape or Hardscape. By all historical means this was actually the first way to do it.
While some claim Henri Cartier-Bresson
is the father of the genre it's fair to say he simply established a way of doing it because portraying the city life from a pedestrian perspective has been since the mid-to-late 19th century. It is indisputable to claim he's the godfather of all hipster photogs, thou, hence why this field is filled much more than usual with morality, ethics, ego ramblings and personal manifestos more than techniques.
It is satisfying to pull, that's for sure, but it commands a very firm personal belief system and a good pair of legs (and even fists) from the performer. For the usual bystander this is the definitive asshole's way of doing photography.
Someone mentioned Urbex, i looked for it but i only found a free pseudo-manifesto from some dude, in such a youth and trendy sub-genre i think most content will be found on video channels rather than old text but it's definitely a highly interesting if just as dangerous way to do photography. But in this case i do find value in it as it showcases dilapidation, urban sprawl, abandonment, so on and so on, along with architecture; In a way it's more socially relevant than public portraits.
I'll have to go with my man Plant here but his book is more of a flex than a didactic plan, still... Taking it to the Streets ~ The Art of Street Photography
, also Street Photography Now
and let's not forget Ta's Urban Exploration Photography
. Really it's tough to recommend much because half of these encourage the photographer to be as transgressive as possible.