Annie Leibovitz Analyzed by Student


Take it from us: arts writing isn’t easy. So it’s especially impressive to see great arts writing by an undergraduate student brave enough to open her work up to expert judgment.

Washington, DC, non-profit Day Eight (founded and helmed by The CFR’s own contributor Robert Bettmann) and its online magazine, Bourgeon, have announced the winner of the second annual DC Student Arts Journalism Challenge. Congratulations to Georgetown University junior Julia Lloyd-George, who took the prize with her essay on the exhibition “Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Story continues below.

We fear the $100 prize represents the most she’s likely ever to earn as an arts journalist (and we do hope that turns out to be a really rueful joke), but we wish her well in a field best described as a labor of love.

Leibovitz Show

From the Day Eight press release:

DC Student Arts Journalism Challenge
Georgetown English Major Wins Writing Competition with Article About Annie Leibovitz’s Landscape Photographs
September 3, 2012

Competition winner Georgetown University Junior Julia Lloyd-George was born in Hong Kong, where she lived for four years before moving to London. She spent her childhood moving back and forth between London and Palm Beach, and perhaps that is why she understands so well the landscape photographs of photographer Annie Leibovitz, a photographer better known for portraits of celebrities. Lloyd-George just won the DC Student Arts Journalism Competition with her article about a recent Leibovitz exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.

Lloyd-George said she entered the competition to try and help her career as an aspiring writer. As the winner Lloyd-George received a $100 dollar cash prize, and the positive feedback from jurors including Leonard Jacobs, Director of Cultural Institutions at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, freelance critic Amanda Abrams, art consultancy founder Elizabeth Grazioli, and Lewis Segal longtime classical music and dance critic for the Los Angeles Times. Lewis Segal wrote, “This writer makes us see what the photographer sees and successfully evokes the personalities and careers that form the context of the photographs.”

Julia’s article about Annie Leibovitz’s photographic pilgrimage includes:
“By far the most personal and striking piece of the collection, however, is Leibovitz’s single shot of Niagara Falls. A souvenir of her trip there with her daughters, the image renders the landmark in all its misty beauty. It is the lone star of the exhibit in the sense that it is unique to its photographer, containing no association with an inspirational figure. In a way, it is Leibovitz’s admission of her own personal legacy. This is not so much a demonstration of possessiveness as an artist’s recognition that every place and object that profoundly strikes one in a way becomes part of one’s identity.”

A project of the magazine Bourgeon, online at, the competition is funded by private donors through the non-profit DAY EIGHT.

Day Eight founder Robert Bettmann said, “The DC Student Arts Journalism Competition was created to identify and support talented young arts writers, and we’re happy to reward Julia’s talent.”