Everyone should be inspired when first learning about photography. It helps to keep your focus and motivation. When I was majoring in photography at the Art Institute of Atlanta, one guy's work who inspired me a lot was Herb Ritts. He died of AIDS in 2002, but his black and white photography was phenomenal! Every time I shot a black and white portrait, I tried to get my shots to have as much depth and tonality as his work. I'm sure you've seen some of his work over the years without even noticing it. He even directed music videos, such as Janet Jackson's "Love Will Never Do" and Jennifer Lopez's "Aint It Funny" to name a few. Some of his iconic images were:
His website can be found here. He has a couple of photography books, but they are out of production now and are quite expensive if you can find them in mint condition.