Photographers whose work I tried to understand from my get go: there's actually very few of them... (fair usage of samples below)
MARIE COSINDAS, below, portrait of author Tom Wolfe, for painterly perfection, commercial photography as fine art photography
Above, DAVID GAHR, (LINK for expanded ruminations)
Above, IRVING PENN covers of 2 of his photography books, fine art sensibility, unerring technical perfection for reproduction
Two images above, HIRO (only fair usage ones located on web) for unusual lighting choices and compositions, always
Above right and left, RICHARD AVEDON, directional light, easy finesse
Above, KURT INGHAM, self-portrait with 4x5 view camera, 1970; below, nature study 43 years later. Boundless creativity and expert experimentation
Addenda: lest readers deem yours truly mired in the miasma of retro fashion photographers (see juvenilia work LINK,) the most recent influence that changed in my visual style choices came via the movie The Social Network. It just plain looked different, with all possible light visible in low light situations, background, foreground, whatever, and I thought to self, I must have that look for my own work, all the light. The film was the first widely seen mainstream movie shot with RED One digital cinema cameras with low light capabilities of ISO 4,000 from a native base of ISO 800 (previously a high limit for cinema cameras!) From then on I saved for the Nikon D3S, the still photographers' equivalent with its ISO 100,000 (wherein 6400 - 12000 hitherto was considered the equivalent of Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier in The Right Stuff.) It's essentially the cost of a very reliable used car, but I now have all the light. And oh yeah, did I mention how much a cinematic look has informed my work since I first snapped a camera's shutter?