WilliamJ: I doubt the "geisha" in the picture is a real one. She has not the good make up (too "unnuanced", too harsh), not the good gears (usually kimonos that colorful are for young apprentices, moreover a real geisha's collar has to be white) and usually real Kyoto geishas go by taxi to their appointment often accompanied by a pupil/assistant or a chaperon. Here are real geishas, just compare: http://yabbedoo.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/the-extraordinary-culture-of-geisha-and-fascinating-facts-about-their-lifestyle/
Besides, this photo is really worthless (a pure snapshot) that lessen the outstanding quality of the rest of the McCurry's work. He should stop to use it as it's technical nothing and has no value from a journalistic point of view.
You criticism is unfounded, and shows lack of education , at least of photography.
First I fail to see a documentary aspect to this at all/ It is an image, has great converging lines, A very neutral background with a really nice colorful women dressed up in a geisha outfit. Nice separation and a nice clean image pleasing to the eye. BTW, would not matter if Bozo the clown were walking up the steps, He saw the moment, framed it and shot it and it works.