She may not make a personal connection with her client but who cares. She creates image. When you look at her subjects you see the image they want you to see.
As for the "but is it art" vomit? To me her images are. To others not. I would love to sit down with her and try to figure out her visual processes. How she can create the desired image. When you see the people you don't see them you see their persona, their image, and that is why she gets hired. She could make a homeless man look like the most powerful person in the world.
It is funny to hear people talk about all of her assistants and what not. Have you heard how Maplethorpe(sp) worked? I roll my eyes too but hell, if it works for them, and apparently it does/did, then who am I judge.