interested in venturing into this area. As of now I'm reading random articles on the internet, a few from strobists.com, and I'm browsing flickr. My sole interest is in portraits/fashion work but at the hobbyist level, not professional, so keep that in mind. I'm not trying to go cheap but I do not want to overspend. I'm thinking monolights, reflectors, modifiers, that type of stuff, with a starting budget of around 1k. Maybe less or more. I'm not here to seek advice in what I should get or which brands are better but just advice in figuring out what I want.

A lot of information to digest and I'm nowhere near purchasing as I'm trying to figure out my needs/requirements. I might just end up going with cheap speedlights in the end of my research.

1. Any good books in this subject? I know that there is a plethora of information on the internet but I prefer consolidated books with good information to flip through. I'd prefer books talking about configurations and combinations and use of modifiers. How to meter, and that type of stuff.

2. Any good fashion/portrait photographers known for using simple lighting configurations? Avedon, I believe used one strobe for much of his work, correct? With a large umbrella? I'm not sure but that is what I read I think. Or maybe those known for popularizing some unique stylet? I'm not trying ti immitate but draw inspirataion snd see what can be achieved when strobes are done well. In general, my interest is in somethign natural-looking. I know available light is the obvious solution but artificial light can look very good when done well.

I'm mostly trying to figure out what I like about strobes and how different looks can be achieved.