A great picture, evidence of MEM's ability to depict people at the bottom of the social heap with dignity and empathy. Sadly, also an example of the kind of "committed" photography for which it is becoming ever harder to find an outlet.The question of MEM's motivation is valid, I for one have absolutely no reason to doubt her sincerity. The comparison with Avedon's social documentary work is interesting. I think RA was motivated by egotism and a desire to show that he was "serious" - his pictures in particular taken in state mental institutions are a perfect example of total failure to engage with the subject matter.
PS: Yet another good choice of material for discussion!