Someone once said to me (in relation to drawing, but I think it applies broadly) that becoming a Real Artist was learning to do deliberately the things you initially did as mistakes.
Meatyard, perhaps because of his experience as an optician, was keenly aware of perception and of the potential for meaningful perception far from the "correct" rules-based norms of typical photography. He was willing to push at the boundaries and discover what they might mean.
Like Winogrand he seems to have been keenly interested in finding out what things looked like in photographs. The picture is not the thing.
Ultimately, all you have is the picture, in which Lucybelle Crater is as flesh-and-blood as anyone.