Rena Effendi’s early work focused on oil industry’s effects on people’s lives. As a result, she followed a 1,700 km oil pipeline through Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, collecting stories along the way. This work was published in 2009 in...
Refugee girl in a car with her family at a check point guarded by the Georgian police on the road from Gori to Tbilisi. Residents of Gori fled the town in panic after Russian military occupation on August 13.
Ala Tarasova 68 y.o., ethnically Russian flet Sukhumi, Abkhazia 17 years ago after her husband and son had been killed in the war. Ever since has been living alone in a refugee camp in Tskhvari Chamia, where a new flow of refugees had arrived from South Ossetia this week. August 14, 2008
Old woman refugee lying on the ground to rest. A group of four elderly Georgian refugees from Kurta village behind Tshinvali walked 30 km for 3 days through the forest to escape into Gori. August 15, 2008. Georgia
Refugees sitting down to eat at the entrance to Gori city by the gas station. A group of four elderly Georgian refugees from Kurta village behind Tshinvali walked 30 km for 3 days through the forest to escape into Gori. August 15, 2008. Georgia
Georgian prisoners of war at the Russian military base in Tshinvali. On Monday, August 18, 2008 an exchange of 14 Georgian and 5 Russian prisoners of war was scheduled for 12:00 p.m. However the negotiations between the sides were stalled.
When a conflict broke out between Georgia and Russia in August 2008 over the Russian backed self-proclaimed republic of South Ossetia I traveled back and forth between the frontlines in my attempt to catch up with the fast pace of unraveling events. Soon, I realized my limitations and began working in a deliberately slow fashion. I photographed formal portraits of people, a priest looking back in grief after collecting the dead bodies of soldiers, a family of refugees at the food distribution center. I documented the interiors of abandoned homes in a tenement buildings shelled by the Russian warplanes. What objects were taken and what was left behind when the people fled the bombs? What survived the blast? Love letters scattered on the floor of a looted apartment, ghost frames offset the wallpaper where once family pictures smiled, a heap of potatoes lay intact amidst corrugated metal and blasted cement. Both people and spaces gazed back at me, becoming an evocative portrait of a one-week war.