Somthing About Henri Cartier-Bresson
Until recently, I never really paid much attention to other famous photographer's work. There are a few I'd seen represented in museums through the years, and I've heard several referenced by other photographers in passing. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure why I never bothered to study any of the "masters" but I think it's had something to do with an attempt to keep the images I make more my own personal expression than risking accidentally emulating another photographer's work.
Because all artistic expression is influenced by everything experience to some degree, it's impossible to make absolutely pure individual expression. However, I made a choice to try to at least limit my photographic exposure to others using the same medium. This has caused me a little grief here and there due to the fact the normal path seems to find out what resonates for you and then follow in one particular style or the other. And, the evaluation of other's work seems to follow whichever discipline chosen as the measuring stick.
Still, every now and then I'll make images that other photographers compare favorably to other famous photographer's work and though I always take it as a compliment, I seldom really know who the "master" is exactly.