Here's a short story, wow it must have been 5 or 6 years ago already, but I'm a high school photo teacher and each year I have my students do a famous photographer research project. Master's of photography type thing.
Well 5 or 6 years ago a student approached me with a request to research a photographer who wasn't on my list. Rodney Smith. I hadn't heard of him. I did a quick search and was just amazed at how beautiful his work was and the fact that I hadn't come across it before. Made an impression.
A couple years later one of my first assignments in graduate school was to find a professional photographer in my specific field (fine art) and arrange and interview.
Ok, that was my worst nightmare. I was frantically trying to think of ways I could just fake the assignment and decided that if I was going to interview anyone it was going to damn well be someone I felt was worthy of an interview.
I thought of the photographers I knew and loved - and that were alive and I thought of Rodney Smith. I found his website and sent him an email. I did not expect a response.
What a generous, kind and just generally great guy, photographer, artist, etc. He contacted me and set up a call. He's on the east coast or I would have figured out a way to interview him in person. I read his entire blog in preparation and had a lovely conversation with the man.
I am a huge fan.