You don't have to drive very far from Kabul these days to find the Taliban. In Ghazni province's Andar district, just over a two-hour trip from the capital on the main southern highway, a thin young man, dressed in brown and wearing a white prayer cap, stands by the roadside waiting for two NEWSWEEK correspondents. It is midday on the central Afghan plains, far from the jihadist-infested mountains to the east and west. Without speaking, the sentinel guides his visitors along a sandy horse trail toward a mud-brick village within sight of the highway. As they get closer a young Taliban fighter carrying a walkie-talkie and an AK-47 rifle pops out from behind a tree. He is manning an improvised explosive device, he explains, in case Afghan or U.S. troops try to enter the village.In the US, it’s My Life in Pictures, a story about celebrity photographer Annie Liebovitz and her new book.
Annie Leibovitz is tired and nursing a cold, and she' s just flown back to New York on the red-eye from Los Angeles, where she spent two days shooting Angelina Jolie for Vogue. Like so many of her photo sessions, there was nothing simple about it. "I talked with Angelina before the shoot," says Leibovitz, who's famous for her preparation. "She felt like she was coming back from having the baby and she felt very sexy and ready to go." Jolie, a pilot, suggested shooting on an old airfield near the desert, with motorcycles and small planes among the props. (She flew herself to the location and the next day, Brad Pitt buzzed up in his plane.) They also spent a day shooting in the dunes near Death Valley, where the mercury hit 104, and the wind whipped so hard that everyone was peppered with sand. There were 50 people on the set, and racks of clothes from the New York spring collections to be tried and styled. It was as if Leibovitz were directing a small movie.Wow.
File under Things That Don't Surprise Me, But Still Manage to Rattle Me, Anyway.