Born in a small town in Guatemala, Efren immigrated to Phoenix, Arizona, with his mother and younger brother in the mid-1970s. As a child, he was fascinated by art and design, and went on to study visual communication at Phoenix College.
Efren then discovered his passion for photography in the Air Force Reserve when he was assigned as a combat photojournalist to the 4th Combat Camera Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, California. Efren honed his craft documenting numerous military exercises. He also began teaching photography at his alma mater.
Then in 2009, he deployed to Afghanistan where he documented combat and humanitarian missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Efren was awarded the Army Combat Action Badge while deployed and the Air Force Combat Action Medal upon his redeployment and shortly thereafter was selected for the Military Visual Journalism program at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communication. He is the only reservist of any branch to attend the prestigious program’s in the fifty-five year history.
After graduating, he hit Route 66, capturing images of the famous landmarks and disappearing treasures he discovered in front of his lens. He journeys have introduced him not only to iconic landmarks but the people who run the gas stations, hotels and coffee shops that dot the twenty-four hundred mile route.
With more than eighteen years of professional experience, various exhibitions, an a multitudeof civilian and military photography honors and a portfolio of images from around the world, Efren has perhaps finally found his home on the “Mother Road.” His pride and joy are his two children, Sydney Jordan and Brandon Niles.