Since I basically “came of age” in the late 80s, early 90s Herb Ritts was probably the first photographer to inspire and amaze me. I could stare at the photo he took for Calvin Klein of Marky Mark in his underwear for hours, and not for the obvious reasons.
His work was flawless, the lighting perfect, and he produced images that were seductive but not obscene. He worked mostly in black and white, but he was more than adept at working with color.
He unfortunately passed on at the age of 50 in 2002, it makes a person wonder what he could have produced given more time.
Small collection of his work (taken with permission from other sites):