Rena Effendi was born in Azerbaijan in 1977 and has astounded many with the images from her Rolleiflex 2.8F. She’s always loved documentary and street photography. While other young girls were concerned with the latest fashion or music trends, Rena Effendi was already concerned about armed conflict and starving children. Telling stories that needed to be told and addressing social issues along the way was the wellspring of her photographic inspiration.
While it was books of photographers that inspired her, now she is the source of that inspiration. Her first book, “Pipe Dreams: A Chronicle of Lives along the Pipeline” tells the story of families living next to the oil pipeline in Georgia and Turkey. People struggling to survive in the shadow of the arteries of enormous wealth.
When she chooses a project, she examines certain criteria. Global relevance and social importance are on the top of her list. Photography has brought her to places and put her in situations she formerly could only dream about.
Most jobs start with a great amount of trepidation. And in a day and age when most documentary photographers are tied to a corporation and digital, she is still a film photographer. Her camera of choice is a Rolleiflex 2.8F that’s older than her. She feels that being limited to only 12 exposures per roll forces her to give great thought to every image. While she did develop her own B+W film in the early years, she has always sent out her color images to various labs around the world.
She presently lives in Cairo. She mostly works in color now, but tries to keep up with fellow photographers to try to avoid producing cliched work. Rena Effendi is able to find real humanity and beauty in the most desperate of environments. Her recent work for National Geographic is phenomenal.
Her books, “Pipe Dreams: A Chronicle of Lives along the Pipeline” and “Liquid Land” are sometimes a little hard to acquire, and are becoming somewhat of collector items. Try both Ebay and Amazon. And be sure to visit her site below. And experience Rena and her Rolleiflex 2.8F. Be inspired.