I have recently read an article from a street photographer suggesting to avoid any reading of the Masters of Photography. The risk is to turn inspiration into copy (I wished….), the goal of looking for your style in photography according to him must be carefully defended (agree but let me see what has been done so far!).
Beside that for me reading, documenting, get inspired are core in my photography because they have a great part on anything I do (curiosity is well into myself) I think reading on Masters of Photography can give you not only a great source of inspirations on technique or projects but also can completely change how you see your own photography.
Soon or later even as a beginner you will ask yourself why you are taking pictures, it may be because you want to document your city, your new baby born, your beautiful wife or girlfriend, amazing landscapes, wildlife (I am not talking about your city) and I can continue like this forever. At this question I think you should be able to answer if you want to direct your efforts towards a rewarding goal.
Reading on one of this Masters gave me an interesting point of view, I have recently read one biography on Henry Cartier Bresson, written by author Pierre Assouline. It is a very good book unveiling the story of the man, his passions in painting than photography and then painting again. I definitely recommend you its reading. Beside the several things I have gotten from the book two of them worth mentioning here:
– Photography is a visual art, it is about representing in the frame a concept an idea a feeling a way to be a society as well as a painting or a sculpture can to.
– Photography can be a strong mean to represent your time, people, cities .
I like both ideas, to have a tool in my hand (like a brush for the painter) to express my artistic view (I have to say quite hidden as of now) and to be able to document even from details today’s society. Even a flat picture today in 20 years from now can deliver a quite strong message, the famous “old days”.