Street photography is exploitative, that's a fact , however its up to you to decide to what degree you exploit the situations and people you come across while out with your cameras.
During my trip up north last week I framed up a number of shots that I failed to pull the trigger on as I felt uncomfortable with the scene, in short I felt as if the images could be interpreted badly, they definitely did not show the various individuals I encountered in a positive light !
I would hate to think of my work being viewed in a gallery situation by a middle class educated audience that engage in a form of class tourism as they quaff white wine and canapé ! That is one of the reasons that the "Last Resort" pictures make me uncomfortable although I feel much better about Parr's mocking of the middle classes, perhaps this says a lot about me. !
I would imagine that most of the togs reading this are male and are no strangers to checking out functions and specifications of products before purchase. The question I would ask is how many of us have examined the function of our own personal photography ?
This might seem like an abstract question at first but on further examination you might discover a little more about yourself and your work. The great thing about commercial photography is that the function is easy to understand, the selling of products and services is the sole function either directly or indirectly. The question when asked of Art Photography or Street Photography becomes more difficult to answer, some might argue that Art has no function, that's why its art ! The cynical might take the position that Arts function is to generate shit loads of cash while making ordinary folk feel inferior as they are unable to understand it !
Whatever your point of view I think this question should be asked on a personal level and the answer might be that perhaps you need to become a better person before you can become a better Street Photographer ?
Keep it real !