"I never wanted to be a photographer. When I was a child the only photographer i knew was a very sad man who came to our school to take group portraits. He looked shabby and smelled of alcohol and never talked. Sometimes i saw him on the street dressed in a cartoon hero outfit. There were many photographers like him in public parks and promenades. That sad and lonely image of a photographer had stuck in my head for a very long time. It never crossed my mind that photography could be art, that it could be as expressive as painting or music."
Rena Effendi has been active as a photographer since 2001 and from the outset, her interest has been social documentary photography. Her work focuses on themes of urbanization, post-conflict societies, and the oil industry’s effects on people’s lives. In 2004, Effendi was a winner of the “Fifty Crows” International Fund for Documentary Photography competition. In 2005 she was selected to participate in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass and recieved honourable mention in National Geographic’s “All Roads” photography competition. In 2006 Effendi was a winner of the Getty Images Editorial Photography Grant and Mario Giacomelli Memorial Fund award. In 2007, Effendi was chosen by the Photo District News magazine as one of 30 emerging photographers to watch. The same year, Effendi was selected as a finalist for the Magnum Photos Inge Morath award, in 2007, Effendi exhibited in the Venice Biennale.