Project: “High”

»It’s supposed to be hard; the hard is what makes it great.«

by Jens Hauspurg

This running event, held annually for the past 45 years, is a time many professional athletes and fans of the running culture come together from all over the world. This race addresses a broad audience and brings international attention to Thuringia. The photographic project “High” aims to catch the physical and psychological emotionality of runners and their culture. Guthsmuts-Rennsteiglauf is a challenging competition, even for trained runners.

The athletes have to master up to 72 km of mountain routes. During the run and after finishing they fall into a deep rush of endorphins and adrenalin – called “runners high”.

Hauspurg’s work “High” captures this moment of personal triumph – the yield of countless workouts, the mental willpower – documented immediately after the participants have crossed the finish line. A team of assistants ensured a stringent workflow. They took care of the acquisition and ministry of protagonists and the declaration of legal rights.

In former projects it turned out that 35 mm film is the most suitable medium in terms of speed to capture a representative profile of athletes. A mobile studio, right next to the finisher area was built to ensure reliable and consistent lighting conditions.

Due to the consequent capturing on film, an extreme focusing on the subject took place during the shootings. The whole project was shot on 35 mm Rollei RPX 100 films with a Leica M7 (Leica Summicron-M 90 mm F2.0) and a Hensel flash system.

Finally, 100 portraits, out of over 400, will be selected and printed at the laboratory of the Bauhaus University Weimar – Jens Hauspurg, initiator and project manager of “HIGH “, is an artistic associate for Visual Communication and Photography at Bauhaus University.

The negatives have been developed in Rollei Supergrain and will be printed on Rollei Vintage 311 RC in the format 30 x 40 cm. The enlargements will be developed in Rollei RPN Print Neutral stopped with Rollei RCS Citro Stop and fixed with Rollei RXA Fix Acid .

The final prints are supposed to look rich in contrast with the pictorial impact of the natural grain. This natural optic ensures an absolute focus on the subject – a mass of individuals trying to reach the same goal.

At the end all selected portraits will be set up on one wall. Four rows of 25 prints merge to a big motive wall of 100 pairs of eyes staring at the audience.


Jens Hauspurg lives and works as a lecturer and advertising photographer in Weimar.  |  More information about the project: