On one of the Internet forums, where I post my photographs frequently, a lively discussion took place on merits of street photography. The debate seems to have three sides with varied but not always opposing viewpoints to it.
Firstly, the photographers, who take street candids, see it as a form of art, which captures people in their natural environment exhibiting their natural behaviours. Secondly, the photographers who view this as a form of art, but acknowledge only a small proportion of candid photographs as worth looking at. Finally, there was a group of photographers, who see no purpose or for that matter any photographic or artistic skills in this medium at all.
Yes, this is discussion was conducted on a photographers for photographers forum and thus the audience is rather of a very narrow demographic.
The views of the first group include journalistic values, historical record, liking people, showing their contemporaries, showing characters etc. This group advocated capturing the moment is more important than technical excellence of the process or the result.
The second group usually appreciates “capture the moment” photographs, while dismissing almost all other forms listed by the street photographers.
Third group was mostly represented by professional studio photographers, who did not see any journalistic or artistic “capture the moment” values at all. It seems the photography for them has to have a purpose, which directly affects them: either profit or personal relationship/interaction. A high value is placed on technical excellence of photographs rather then their context.