As a photographer I always have to respect the old masters. With the world moving more toward retouching, there is something to be said about about making beautiful images without the help of photoshop. Every time I see the work of Joel-Peter Witkin, it's hard to believe that it was done without the help of a computer. His work often deals with such themes as death, corpses (and sometimes dismembered portions thereof), and various outsiders such as dwarfs, transsexuals, hermaphrodites, and physically deformed people. Joel-Peter Witken's work is definitely dark and dare I say morbidly beautiful...which I'm sure some may differ with, but, I'm certain they want be able to not stare at it!
This is what inspires me!