“You become this superhuman being that doesn’t need anything. You just go out taking pictures and you don’t notice bad weather, or hunger, or exhaustion. You just take pictures.”—Rena Effendi
Rena Effendi grew up Baku, Azerbaijan during the economic collapse of the Soviet Union. Walking through the streets of her home town and witnessing its transition was paramount to her development as a photographer.
Effendi’s photojournalism career started in 2005, after she left her job as an economic development specialist. Through her work she strives to show “Life in the corners of the world that are not exactly beautiful.” In Effendi’s eyes, humans are capable of extraordinary perseverance and adaptability. This human strength is what she hopes to depict in her photographs. Effendi has been honored with the Getty Images Editorial Grant and the All Roads Photography Award from National Geographic. —Allie Russell, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
This video portrait was produced by National Geographic magazine in partnership with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It is part of an ongoing series of conversations with the photographers of the magazine, exploring the power of photography and why this life of imagemaking suits them so well. Learn more about the making of the series and watch the full trailer here.
Video Production Credits
Photographer: Rena Effendi
Producers: Pamela Chen, NGM
Chad A. Stevens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Associate Producer: Elyse Lipman, NGM
Editor: Allie Russell, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Camera and Sound: Spencer Millsap, NGM, Shannon Sanders, NGM