No, he’s not dead. Just retiring. Again.
Hayao Miyazaki was not a photographer but he was a great visual genius and I think any photographer can learn from him. In any case, although I’m not a knowledgeable fan, I am a fan. I have seen seven or eight of his films and love them; so does my daughter. Here is Time’s listing of his top 10.
I particularly agree about ranking Spirited Away #1 — although really, you can’t go wrong with any of those I’ve seen. I think this list includes just films he directed, not his screenplays (like The Secret Life of Arietty).
Miyazaki is quoted as saying, “Do everything by hand, even when using the computer.” Sounds right to me.
And now we can wait for his last film, “The Wind Rises” (Kaze Tachinu). Something to look forward to. Official Japanese trailer on YouTube, here.