Rena Effendi


Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, Rena Effendi is an award winning documentary photographer focusing on issues of conflict, social justice and the environment. She is currently based in Istanbul, Turkey. 

From 2002 to 2008, Effendi followed a 1,700-kilometer pipeline through Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey documenting the impact this multibillion-dollar project had on impoverished farmers, fishermen, and other citizens. This six-year journey became her first monograph Pipe Dreams: A Chronicle of Lives Along the Pipeline, published in 2009. The project received numerous awards, including a Getty Images Editorial grant. 

In 2012, Effendi published her second monograph Liquid Land, where her images of Baku are paired with photographs of perished butterflies hunted by her father, a Soviet entomologist, who collected more than 30,000 butterflies in the Soviet Union. Liquid Land punctuates the theme of fragility and environmental decay of her native city.

Over the past two decades, Effendi has photographed human interest stories around the world, working frequently as a contributor to National Geographic Magazine. In 2011, she received the Prince Claus Fund Award for Cultural Development. In the words of the awards committee, two qualities pervade Effendi’s photography: a deep sense of empathy and a quiet celebration of the strength of the human spirit. Effendi was twice short-listed for the Prix-Pictet Global Award for Photography and Sustainability. In 2020, Effendi’s work for the Wall Street Journal received two awards from the Overseas Press Club of America. Rena Effendi is a member of the Cultural Leadership network of the World Economic Forum. 

World Press Photo Involvement:
2022 World Press Photo Contest global jury chair
2014 World Press Photo Contest winner
2014 Joop Swart Masterclass master 
2013 World Press Photo Contest jury member
2005 Joop Swart Masterclass participant
Joop Swart Masterclass nominator

Rena Effendi on Social Media: 
Instagram: @renaeffendiphoto
Twitter: @rena_effendi

Rena Effendi

Portrait credit: Chris Openshaw