Rena Effendi

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Rena Effendi (born April 26, 1977, Baku) is an Azerbaijani photographer. Her work is focused on themes of environment, post-conflict society, the effects of oil industry on people, and social disparity. As of 2013, she is based in Cairo, Egypt.


Effendi studied at the Azerbaijan State Institute of Languages.[1]

She began photographing in 2001 and became a full-time photographer in 2005 after quitting her job as an Economic Development Specialist at the United States Agency for International Development in Baku. Effendi's first monograph "Pipe Dreams",[2] published by Schilt Publishing, focuses on lives of ordinary citizens in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey along the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline. She initially got a commercial assignment from BP, the oil consortium that operates this pipeline from Azerbaijan via Georgia to the southern Turkish port of Ceyhan. While photographing this promotional material, she discovered that just a small percentage of urban population in her country is benefiting from the oil boom. Effendi embarked on an independent project, which developed into Pipe Dreams.[3]

Effendi has also produced stories in Chernobyl after the nuclear disaster of 1986, transgender in Istanbul, village life in Khinalug, the Russia–Georgia war of 2008, life of youth in Tehran, Russia, Cairo and Afghanistan.[3]

Her work has been published in the International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, Financial Times, Time Magazine, National Geographic, Marie Claire, Courrier International, Le Monde and L'Uomo Vogue.[4]

Exhibitions (incomplete)[edit]

  • 2007: Venice Biennale.
  • 2008?: Chernobyl: Still life in the Zone
  • 2009: Pipe Dreams, Switzerland
  • 2011?: Oil Village
  • 2011-12: Lives Behind, Amsterdam

Photo albums[edit]

  • 2010: Pipe Dreams: A Chronicle of Lives along the Pipeline, Schilt Publishing, ISBN 978-9053306956, on Swiss exhibitions in 2009
  • 2012: Liquid Land: On Butterfly Guilt, Schilt Publishing, ISBN 978-9053307892


Effendi has won the Fifty Crows Documentary Award, the Mario Giacomelli Memorial Award and the Getty Images Editorial Grant.[4]

In 2008, National Geographic Magazine honored her with an All Roads Photography Award, in 2009 she received the Young Photographer in the Caucasus Award and in 2011 she won a Prince Claus Award.[4][5]


  1. ^ Azeri Photo Albums, reference card and impression of her work
  2. ^ Amazon, Pipe Dreams: A chronicle of lives along the pipeline, book description
  3. ^ a b Prince Claus Fund (2011) biography
  4. ^ a b c Institute Artists, biography
  5. ^ Prince Claus Fund, Awards of 2011

External links[edit]