The only time someone shouted at me, "Paparazzi!", was when I took a picture of a statue. Although there where very few cases in which I did encounter a celebrity in a cafe or on the street and took her or his picture ( who wouldn't ? ), I generally disapprove of Paparazzi as a phenomenon. I think people, including famous people, are entitled of their private life. Street photography is not Paparazzi. It is not about stalking specific people and capturing pictures of them while they take out the garbage. Yet, I am often asked if it is OK to photograph people without their consent, usually while they are just minding their own business. First of all, there is what the law sais, and that may change from country to country. In most countries though, the law permits taking pictures of people in public places with certain restrictions. In Israel, for example, It is not allowed to take pictures of children without parental consent. And then of course, all privacy and non-defaming laws apply to pictures too. Street photographers need to be mindful of these legal issues.
But legal issues aside, the question still remains: Is it OK to take pictures of people in the street photography manner? I mean ethically OK? Well I don't see myself an expert on moral decisions, but I can tell you what guides me in my decisions. A street photo is the result of a mental process that ends with the decision to press the shutter button. This process begins with a hint. Something that make the photographer decide to pursue a specific picture. Each street photographer relies on different hints. For me, the hint in most cases is that someone, the object of my picture, had the courage to stand out in the crowd. It's as if that someone lights up the scene for me, and says, "Shoot this!". The more the picture looks like someone or something in it made me feel compelled to take it, the more I feel that it's a good one.
In other words, each of my street photos represents a small partnership. A partnership with people who believe, like I do, that it is OK to stand out in public. What about the other people who may rather be lost in the crowd but got caught in the scene? Well I think they're safe in my pictures, as they remain in them, just the crowd.