Great thread Zac! I totally agree with the gear-related thing.
Ansel Adams: His B&W stuff is of course incredible. He is thé black and white landscape photog for me. Nowadays you see a lot of landscape photography in a colors of the rainbow with long exposures and fancy stuff. The way Adams' photographed is incredible. I've tried this before, but making landscape in B&W good is INCREDIBLY hard, because it's so heavily reliant on color. That doesn't mean I don't think Adams' color work isn't great of course, but for me his monochrome stuff is just sick. And then there are of course his darkroom techniques which are incredible. Hopefully one day I'll know 2% of what he knows and does.
HCB: Cliché maybe, but he is a great photographer. I love street photography, and he is one of the greatest ones around. The decisive moment really is a thing
Tatsuo Suzuki: He is someone I recently discovered. I just love his street photography. It's so incredibly powerful and much more filled with emotion than any other photographers work I know. And on top of that he shoots with a 'shitty' camera, which is cool too.
Ted Forbes: aka the guy from the Art of Photography: http://www.youtube.com/user/theartofphotography
Zac already mentioned this, but I love this guy just as much. He is a great guy, great tutor and he has very much influenced what kind of photographer I am today. He puts the emphasis on what's important: that's what I love so much about him. I'm not too familiar with his work, but the stuff I've seen is actually very good. He constantly refers to himself as a bad photog, but I beg to differ.
Walker Evans: He is to me one of the photogs that had an incredible talent of telling a story and documenting life through a single image.
Ken Schless: A less known photographer, but one I really like; that is: some of his work. He's one of those photogs that also puts out work that just makes you think: wtf is this shit.
What arguably is my favorite image in the world was shot by this guy.
Brassaï: His nighttime photography is the best. I love everything about it. Great, great stuff. I LOVE nighttime photography and he's someone that definitely made me open my eyes to the beauty of the night and the incredible lighting it offers.
Phil Marion: Awesome am photographer I know through POTN, but his work is incredibly versatile, consistently great
Anton Corbijn: As much as I like Annie Leibovitz' earlier work (I find her contemporary work DISGUSTING though), for me Corbijn is the much better photographer here than she is. His portrait work is great and his this awesome in-your-face thing to it. And on top of that he's Dutch, which doesn't hurt. Great photographer, great director (Director of: The American (with Goerge Clooney) and Control (a movie about Joy Division).
Robert Doisneau: Great streetphotographer. Friend of HCB, also shot with a Leica. Not as much 'the decisive moment' oriented, but his images are just stunning. Love his work.
Rineke Dijkstra: Already found her a good photographer when I went to an exposition by her in the Netherlands, but when I went to the Guggenheim, she incidently had a HUGE exposition there too! What a surprise! I don't like all of her work, but she has this ability to photograph portraits of people being their selves. Check out her work. Not my kind of photography (yet), but certainly great stuff!
Magnum: Pretty much all Magnum photographers are amazing.
That's it for now. I will probably add some in the future.