IN TERVIEW BY HOLLY STUART HUGHES
LIKE A ROLLING STONE
© R YAN S TRUCK PHOTO BY KOURY ANGELO. COURTESY OF ROLLINGSTONE.COM. © ROLLING STONE LLC. ALL RIGH TS RESERVED. USED BY PERMISSION
PDN: Is your background in print
A.F.: In my last position at
EW, I bounced around from
working on print to the website
to the EW tablet edition. That
was great, because it gave me a
lot of experience in how print
translates to online, and things
we can do to make the experience
of online feel more immersive,
like a print feature. Also getting
the technical training in how
to use a CMS and a digital asset
management system was helpful.
After freelancing for EW.com for
a while, I took a break to work at
Newsweek/Daily Beast, and there
I moved from pure entertainment
journalism to working on news
stories with photojournalists, and
that was an amazing experience.
PDN: What’s the volume of work
A.F.: My colleague, Rochelle
Morton, and I say we put out a
magazine every day. We consider
Ahmed Fakhr, director of photography at RollingStone.com,
all our aggregated news stories
joined the publication two years ago. He had previously
the front-of-the-book section.
worked at Entertainment Weekly and Newsweek/Daily Beast.
Then we have a substantial
At PhotoPlus Expo, he’ll be speaking with fellow photo editors
number of features on music,
politics, movies, profiles and
from The New Yorker, Refinery29, Bloomberg Businessweek,
cultural pieces. We do a lot of
Marie Claire and The California Sunday Magazine on a panel
coverage on culture, which could
titled “What Photo Editors Want Now.” We asked Fakhr how
mean sex, drugs or crime.
his photographic and video needs are changing, and how he
Director of Photography
now evaluates the skills of potential contributors.
PDN: You’ve worked on a lot of
videos. How are those made?
A.F.: We have our own video
department that includes
PDN: What are your responsibilities
team for our daily news stories.
print we can blow out online
producers, editors [and directors].
I also handle the Instagram
with more photos. We constantly
We embed videos within our
AHMED FAKHR: My basic job
feed for Rolling Stone as well as
have meetings to discuss stories
political stories or aggregated
responsibilities are serving all the
the budget for the digital side.
they have coming up or we have
news stories each day. I’ll
photo needs of RollingStone.com.
Right now my department is two
collaborate with the video
That encompasses anything
people, including me. The print
Whether in print or digital, we
department to get the photo
we’re publishing on the digital
side is also two people, including
want to have a unified voice. We
assets that they may need, and
side. I produce shoots for the
creative director Jodi Peckman.
are trying to cultivate a younger
they’ll run a type treatment over
website including our features
audience for online, so we cover
them. They’re explainer videos.
and photo essays. In addition to
PDN: What’s the relationship
a lot of younger artists—more
Those appear on RollingStone.com,
working on the editorial side, I
between the print and
of the social stars, Instagram
and in Rolling Stone’s Facebook
collaborate with marketing and
digital photo departments?
photographers and You Tube
and Twitter feeds.
sales when we have sponsored
Is the readership or point of
stars. We’ve done a lot of profiles
We are doing a partnership
content. That can involve hiring
of them on RS.com. While our
with Harley, where we go to ten
photographers for shoots, and
A.F.: We’ve begun to collaborate
coverage may change, our voice is
different cities, and jump into a
collaborating with the video
when there are stories from
still the same.
niche culture in each city. I was