Rena Effendi

Photographer
    
Caspian Mystique
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Nationality: Azerbaijan
Biography: 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... read on
Public Story
Caspian Mystique
Credits: rena effendi
Date of Work: 07/15/16 - 07/25/16
Updated: 04/17/18
Text extract from the National Geographic Traveler, by: Bruce Shoenfeld

Baku has always been at the crossroads of something. Caught between the empire-building machinations of the Persians, the Russians, and the Turks, it languished under the control of one or another of those civilizations for centuries. Now the city and its country are experiencing a breakthrough, but one roiled by an authoritarian government, the vicissitudes of an oil economy, and the challenge of integrating Islamic customs with modern Western secularism.

The turbulence is playing out in what can only be called an epic setting. The Caspian Sea waterfront must compel grand architectural gestures because Baku’s rulers always have been partial to them. From the domed 15th-century Palace of the Shirvanshahs (named for the rulers of Shirvan, a onetime Azeri state) to the ornate fin de siècle mansions of the first oil boom, to the muscular office blocks built by the Soviet Union, those architectural gestures make rounding each corner a potential moment of discovery. Now the Aliyev family, which has presided over Azerbaijan since 1993, has applied a new level of ambition to the construction: Additions such as the swooping Heydar Aliyev Center and the triad of curved, glass-sheathed skyscrapers known as the Flame Towers are headed toward iconic status. Even as Baku’s two million-plus residents struggle to define themselves, they live in a place that looks like nowhere else.
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By Rena Effendi —

VISUAL STORY

A Five Day War

By Rena Effendi — When a conflict broke out between Georgia and Russia in August 2008 over the Russian backed self-proclaimed republic of South Ossetia I traveled..
VISUAL STORY

We Are Here

By Rena Effendi — Liquid Land is co-authored with my father Rustam Effendi, a dissident scientist and entomologist who devoted his life to studying, hunting and..
VISUAL STORY

Chernobyl: Still Life in the Zone

By Rena Effendi — The first signs of the Chernobyl nuclear accident of April 26, 1986 were detected in Sweden   two days later , after a cloud of radioactive..
VISUAL STORY

Khinaliq Village

By Rena Effendi — I first came to Khinaliq to document life in Azerbaijan’s highest inhabited village in 2003. Archeological evidence suggests that Khinaliq was..
VISUAL STORY

We Are Here

By Rena Effendi — Coptic Christians in Egypt number more than 10,000,000, making them the largest (religious) minority group in the country, one that has become more..
VISUAL STORY

Gandhi

By Rena Effendi — This story portrays Mahatma Gandhi and his enduring legacy in modern-day India trailing across the sub-continent with an attempt to put “flesh..
VISUAL STORY

Transylvania

By Rena Effendi — For centuries, the small villages in Transylvania have preserved their hay meadows, raised cattle and operated self-sustainable farms. The agrarian..
VISUAL STORY

Cairo: Urban Decay

By Rena Effendi — In 2015, just a year after winning the election, Egypt’s president Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi announced his plan to build a new capital. The new city..
VISUAL STORY

Courage in the Congo

By Rena Effendi — Ravaged by a never-ending war between various militias, rebels groups, and criminal combatants, the Democratic Republic of Congo, where rape and..
VISUAL STORY

Bengali Weddings

By Rena Effendi — This project documents a wide spectrum of wedding culture and traditions in Bangladesh. From luxurious venues and mega-productions to modest..
VISUAL STORY

The Crossing Point

By Rena Effendi — In a small Greek town of Idomeni in 2015, a long and slow trail of people shuffled across fields and irrigation ditches, attempting..
VISUAL STORY

Egypt's First Revolutionary

By Rena Effendi — Akhenaten, the pharaoh that ruled Egypt in 1300 BC and in his reign enforced the worshiping of one god - Aten – the sun disc is considered the..
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