One of the best purchases I ever made was a book called "Voices, Circles, Echos" by George Drennan. I purchased it when I was fairly new to large format photography. My initial reaction to the book was one of disappointment. Talk about a "tripod hole" photographer! The intro to the book by Jay Dusard characterized Drennan as a "workshop survivor" and I think that was true in a negative way.
As I spent some time with the book, however, I appreciated that he managed to get it published and that most of the "trophy" shots were done very well. Then I noticed the really important thing - interspaced throughout the book were the non-trophy pictures. His wife on a horse, river guides posed in a raft, etc. all taken on 4x5 tri-x. And they were very good pictures. They were worth buying the book for.
I came away thinking that George had fulfilled a goal that I shared - to imitate the masters. I learned the lesson from what he had produced and didn't have to do it anymore. I also developed an appreciation for large format "people" pictures, and now consider that to be the epitome of large format photography. You can keep Weston's Pepper #30, I prefer the pictures of his family taken around his house. Manual Alverez Bravo, Nicholas Nixon, Joel Sternfeld, Michael A. Smith, Alex Soth are held in my highest regard. Thanks, George!