The whole Borca family, from Breb, puts finishing touches on one of the 40 haystacks it makes each summer. Maramures, Romania. June 2012
Rena Effendi is an award-winning documentary photographer from Azerbaijan, whose early work focused on the oil industry’s effects on people’s lives in her region. As a result, she followed a 1,700 km oil pipeline through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, collecting stories along the way. This work of six years was published in 2009 in her first book “Pipe Dreams: A Chronicle of Lives along the Pipeline”. In 2012 Effendi published her second monograph “Liquid Land”, a lyrical visual narrative, where her images are paired with photographs of perished butterflies hunted by her father, a Soviet entomologist, who collected more than 30,000 butterflies in Soviet Union.
Rena Effendi is the laureate of the Prince Claus Fund award for Culture and Development. In the words of the Prince Claus Fund Award committee, two qualities pervade Rena Effendi’s photography: a deep sense of empathy, and a quiet celebration of the strength of the human spirit.
Effendi won many other photography awards including the Overseas Press Club of America awards in 2020, SONY World Photography award, Getty Images Editorial grant and the Alexia Foundation grant. In 2012 and again in 2019, Effendi was shortlisted for the Prix Pictet award in photography and sustainability. In 2014 Effendi won two awards in the World Press Photo “Observed Portraits” categories. She has also been on the jury of the World Press Photo and the SONY World Photography Awards.
Effendi’s work has been exhibited worldwide including at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Saatchi Gallery, İstanbul Modern, the Venice Biennial, NYC MOMA and other venues. Effendi’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the Istanbul Modern, the Open Society Foundation and the Prince Claus Fund.
Effendi is a frequent contributor to the National Geographic Magazine. She has worked on editorial commissions for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times magazine, Vogue, Marie Claire, The New Yorker, GEO, The Daily Telegraph, Newsweek, TIME, The Sunday Times, New York Magazine and many others.