Born and raised in Baku, Azerbaijan, Rena Effendi is an award-winning National Geographic photographer. Her early work focused on the oil industry’s effect on people’s lives; she followed a 1,056 mile (1,700 km) oil pipeline through Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, collecting stories along the way. This work was published in 2009 as her first book: Pipe Dreams: A Chronicle of Lives Along the Pipeline.
In her second book, Liquid Land, published in 2013, Effendi’s images 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 in Baku.
Effendi is the recipient of many international awards, including the Alexia 2018 Professional Grant, the Prince Claus Fund Award for Culture and Development, World Press Photo (for observed portraits in 2014), SONY World Photography Award (fine art category), Getty Images Editorial Grant, and was short-listed for the Prix Pictet Award in Photography and Sustainability.
Effendi is represented by National Geographic Creative agency and ILEX Gallery. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide, including at the Saatchi Gallery, Miami Art Basel, Istanbul Modern, and the 52nd Venice Biennial. She has worked on editorial assignments for National Geographic, The New Yorker, Newsweek, TIME, The New York Times magazine, Vogue, Marie Claire, The Sunday Times, GEO and others.