Sauna, from Finland.
There are 3.2 million Saunas in Finland (and only 5.5million people) So there are more Saunas than cars. Often when I visit a Sauna in my new home country Netherlands. I get complaints about talking. And that does not usually happen for a Finn. The Finnish sauna culture still has masculine elements as well. Finland used to host sauna competitions, until one of the competitors died 2010 for lethal burns on the site of the competition. His rival spend several months on extensive care and had burned 70% of his skin. I visited the survivor for this project and asked why he hadn’t given up earlier for the pain. He told me that he couldn’t since the other guy was Russian.
Ironically in Finnish culture sauna used to be a place for birth and death. It was the most hygienic place to deliver a baby and also the place where the body of the deceased was taken for cleansing. Today the sauna is above all a social place where otherwise silent Finns share their sorrows and moments of joy.
Sauna, from Finland is an ongoing project published on-line as a rough draft to other possible print or exhibition formats. As the project develops, this site will be updated frequently with additional images and content.
Finnish born photographer Jussi Puikkonen lives in the Netherlands and works on both on commissions and personal projects. Over the last years he has been taking his camera to the sauna. It's here, with a steamy lens that Puikkonen finds a moment to slowdown —get intimate with a few strangers and down some cold beers with friends in a hot wooden box. Usually he can't stand the heat and is the first one to exit the sauna.