Don't assume that Rob Kendrick always shoots "small" - I know, I have his old 14x17. He certainly didn't shoot wet-plate in that camera though, just film.
I love the 14x17 as an object in itself, and for the way it makes me work. But I would still only shoot less than 10% of my work with it because it's just so big. For a whole host of reasons, my favorite size is now 6.5 x 8.5 - it's a big-enough contact print that you can view it comfortably at arms' length, but intimate enough to hold it in your hands, instead of having to relate to it on a wall. The camera, from a user's perspective, is ALMOST as small as a 5x7, which makes it easier to travel with or just haul around town. I agree, intimacy in a photograph has become almost a lost art. I think in part it is up to us as artists to bring it back - go out there and MAKE interesting, compelling images on an intimate scale, and start showing them to people. They will react to them.