Even when nobody is in the frame, the city has a human face. Blurred walkers from Daguerre's too-long pauses, Atget's empty streets where Walter Benjamin unearths a crime scene. There's a running analogy with entertainment, large screen or small.
Since we can shoot on sight, as it were, interest has arisen in areas where once there was none; ordinary people and their ballet on the urban stage.
The street photo era coincides mainly with the 20th century.
And there are as many schools as big cities, in Paris, New York, Tokyo, and Johannesburg.
In France, in the wake of Prévert's, it was the poetry of the little people, worn-out but smiling workers, that humanist photographers captured "in their natural habitat"; Boubat, Weiss, Doisneau... As for the USA, that's another street, another school. Fewer smiles, more "ultra-modern solitude" with Evans, Abbott, Weegee, Frank, Friedlander, Winogrand, Arbus, Klein, Parks, DeCarava, Saul Leiter...
The list is endless. Photographers are in thrall to the hum of the city!