In February 2022, photographer Max Manavi-Huber traveled 2,400 meters above sea level to the Great Rift Valley in Iten, Kenya. Considered to be one of the most wondrous natural landscapes in the world, the region is home to the majority of the country’s world-class distance runners and elites in the making. With just a notebook, 30 rolls of Portra 400 film, and a vintage Mamiya RB67, Manavi-Huber set out to understand one of the world’s most dominant and successful running cultures. The images in this book capture the humble and unfiltered way of life in this countryside of East Africa, where an inherited rawness, purity and allegiance to the sport of running continues to cultivate history-making champions. All film was processed and scanned in Germany at Safelight Berlin. Images were hand-printed in Paris by Lucas De L’Estang.
Born in Schladming in the Austrian alps, Max Manavi-Huber is a visual artist based in Vienna. After earning a degree in graphic design from the New Design University in St. Pölten, Austria, he served as an art director for eight years before segueing into photography full time in 2020. A self-taught photographer with boundless range, Manavi-Huber’s style gravitates toward unconventional subjects across the worlds of fashion, lifestyle, and sports. His imagery explores the union of movement, shadow, and framing, simultaneously capturing abstract beauty to evoke ineffable sentiment. His photography has been exhibited across Europe, his commercial portfolio includes campaigns for Asics, Salomon, and Parel studios. Champions (2023) is his debut art book.