Copy or not to Copy, that is the Question??!!

Working on my course from PI: this section I am finding rather a challenge. Not hard just not sure  Working find some photographers that have inspired me ... maybe i have done things backwards. I have always just enjoyed creating images "of my own" not to try and mimic or copy someone else. I have seen images that i have truly loved, and have taken elements of the images may not have used them in the image but to take my own spin on it. I am not sure if this makes a heck of a lot of sense. My mine question to all of you who are photographers out there ... who inspired you??

I have come across this gentleman today while at the library looking at photography books just to get some ideas. So far I am very fascinated and impressed.

Tony Sweet: