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Pipe Dreams

A pipe dream is a fantastic hope that is regarded as being impossible to achieve. This book is dedicated to the people of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, linked by the oil pipeline and their fading hopes for a better future. Besides corporate public relations campaigns, little photographic evidence exists about the impact the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline has had on Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. This book portrays life as it is lived, with no commercial or public relations agenda. It ‘un-smiles’ the calendar smiles of corporate propaganda and sheds fresh journalistic light on this geopolitically important region.

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Author: Rena Effendi


Born in 1977 in Baku, Azerbaijan, Rena Effendi’s first job, at the age of 19, was as a translator for the Azerbaijan International Oil Company, a consortium of some of the world’s largest oil producers. This gave her financial independence, as the oil industry was the most lucrative employer for educated youth in Baku. Having gained an inside perspective, Effendi directed her gaze outward and began to take photographs in 2001, focussing on the oil industry’s effects on ordinary people’s lives.

In 2006, she received a commercial assignment from BP to follow the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline segment in Azerbaijan. Her images resulted in a corporate calendar outlining the achievements of BP’s social responsibility program. However, in the course of her assignment, Effendi was confronted with the reality that the majority of people had not benefited from the oil wealth flowing under their feet. This motivated her to conduct an independent journalistic investigation.
In her attempt to find out what was hidden behind the PR smiles of her calendar, Effendi undertook a photographic journey along the 1,700 km oil pipeline through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, collecting the untold stories along the way.


Design: LevievanderMeer
ISBN: 9789053306956
24 x 24 cm
Hardbound with dust jacket
176 pages with 112 photos in duotone