I am grateful for my father about my first contamination with photography. When I was seven, he gave me a repaired, second-hand Edixa for 35 mm film. So my hobby started with the aquisition of gear, not by seeing exiting photographs. Since then I've struggled to keep my Gear Aquisition Syndrome (GAS) in control.
The 35 mm format was considered amateurish and not nearly up to the quality level of the 6x6 frame. Little did either of us know that Henri Cartier-Bresson had already been taking iconic pictures with his 35 mm Leica for twenty years.
All my photographic life I've taken pictures of whatever comes up. I've learned that it is useless and frustrating to plan ahead. I've never associated myself with any genre; such as nature, portraiture, architecture etc. 
While I do like static, painting-like photos (such as Saul Leiter's color shots of New York),  I get my best kicks capturing quickly passing moments. I like to think that the 1/100 th of a second -nature of photography is essential to the art.
I don't make Wow!-pictures. I think my pictures are rather quiet. They are tiny fragments of the space-time of our everyday lives.
I keep browsing and admiring the pictures of the old masters: Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier-Bresson, André Kertész, Willy Ronis, Louis Stettner and the stunning snapshots of Elliott Erwitt. For most of the film-era I was a dedicated black & white shooter. A few years ago I was introduced to the colour pictures of Harry Gruyaert and Alex Webb. They opened the door to the colour world for me. I also constantly surf the web for the photographs of Matt Stewart, Chema Hernández and especially Julien Legrand. They all do some really tasty shooting.
For decades I thought that the pictures I like belong to an obscure category of "direct" or "straight photography". To me it means that the shots are taken in urban environments, they are shot in existing light, they are not posed or arranged in any way and the photographer does not interfere with the subject. I don't know who later invented "street photography", which seems to have similar aspects. I do not like the "Street photography" -term much. It is too limiting and it includes the terrible sub-genre of taking flash photographs of unaware people from very short distance. I believe that the photography of strangers shall be respectful and preserve peoples' dignity.
- Olli
Helsinki    8.May, 2018
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