The Vivian Maier pic is a sneaky one though - interesting for the fact that the self-portrait is only a device. If she had pointed the camera directly their way, I suspect even then, people would be looking down the barrel - so to speak. It's still very easy to make candid pictures, even in crowded spaces. I think the real issue is that photographers are too self conscious when making pictures now, about being perceived as voyeurs. If you're haunted by that idea, you wouldn't have made a very good street photographer in the 1950s either. You have to be confident at ducking and diving and being a little brash to be a street photographer. If you have social anxiety disorder, pick another genre.
One of the classic stories in photography is told by Joel Meyerowitz (in his book Cape Light) about seeing Cartier-Bresson in New York, in amongst a parade, pirouetting and doing all sorts of cheeky things to get pictures, including throwing his camera at a mans face while keeping hold of the strap and catching it again, like a yo-yo. Maybe all you reluctant street photographers should start dancing classes and karate on the side?
You also have to remember that not everyone is opposed to being photographed, in fact a lot of people love it and are natural "actors". I've seen lots of great street photographs by the greats, and said to myself, what would I do to get that shot? Lots of it could easily be coming upon an interesting scene/event and then asking someone to "do it again" or to play with people and get reactions.
I think you are absolutely right, doing street photography in the shadows may probably be less effective than being an extrovert and playing and cajoling with people. And in doing so you are also far less threatening to them.
I don't get why people analyze HCB to death. Just because he did something, doesn't mean every street photographer needs to do the same. Many street photographers are actually quite introverted and the techniques HCB used may be too daunting for them. The bottom line is, if you get the shot without dehumanizing your subjects, who cares how you got it? People fixate far too much on how and with what a street photographer got their iconic photograph. Going up to people and asking is alright sometimes, but to create a nice balance, real candids need to be in any street photographer's portfolio. Real candids don't need you provoking people by using your expensive camera as a yo-yo.
I don't think "real candid needs to be in any street photographer's portfolio".
To me it is the opposite, when I try take candid shot they are my worst street photographs. Therefore I don't even try to take candid shots. Tele lenses makes the subjects distant and cold, even if I zoom in and shot a close up.
I am very shy and introverted. But I prefer be close to the subject. I submitted myself to a lot of situation where I would run home feeling really down because peoples look or even laugh. But I overcome my shyness and introversion. And I persisted because the shot I got and like gave me motivation to try again and again.
Before I used to try don't be notice when photographing a beautiful woman. I was afraid people would thinking that I am a pervert. Now I don't care at all. The photo result is what matter to me. A can go to a group of beautiful girls and take their photo and don't care what they will think.
I never hide myself and to be honest I never had any problem with nobody. 1 in 20 or 50 people will say no to me when I ask if I can take their photograph. 100% of them are natural because they are usually doing something and I ask them to just keep doing what they are doing.
I only don't ask when the person is doing something which I should not interrupt like cycling, kissing, running, etc. Or when I feel I should not ask and shoot.
And people expression, when they realise I am photographing them, often give more flavour to the image, making it even more interesting (smile, curious look, glimpse, etc).
Candid street photographs doesn't have "it". It is too cold to me.
I think candid street photography is the more critical side of the genre. It's like theatre. Much prefer this type of work personally. When people catch you and look into the lens, their expressions in my experience are almost from a primal place - they look more like monkeys than thinking, feeling human beings (not that monkeys don't think or feel - but it's generally one thing!).