North. Wide forests. Islands. Silence.


Modest. Sincere. In need of warmth.


Life content. Tradition. National culture.

Life in Northern Europe is inconceivable without a sauna. FULL STOP.

The Finnish word "sauna" is well known all over the world. Moreover, the fact that the Finns were voted the happiest people on Earth for the third time in a row, may also have been due to this retreat. That is why the country would like to receive the Unesco World Heritage title for its sauna culture at the end of 2020.

The Challange

A good reason to go to the sauna with Finns: sweat and dive into their world. Into the world of Löyly. This constant throwing of water on hot stones. Watching the people. Their faces.

To see their sweat beads and to listen to their thoughts. At more than 70 degrees, in the humid air - under extreme conditions for people and technology.

Pearls from and on the skin. Pearls of human souls. Therefore:

Löyly Pearls

In my home sauna, there are two sauna trolls – a female and a male one. From time to time I honor them with a piece of bread, at Christmas also with a little Christmas ham. They thank me that with a good sauna spirit.


In the Lahdenvainio’s lakeside sauna I have my own place next to the sauna oven. I am proud to be the löylymestari!


Sauna is a part of me, it’s such a close family moment sitting together in sauna with my husband and our two boys - I can leave everything behind and be present.



There is no literal translation for "Löyly". For the Finns, Löyly describes everything that happens after the water has been poured onto the hot stones of the sauna heater. A unique steam develops that envelops the people in the sauna, literally descends down on them. Some Finns say that Löyly is like a hug: You are together in the Löyly and yet for yourself. Connected yet separate. As the sweat beads slowly rise to your skin, thoughts and memories emerge. Individual and unique, just like people are - true pearls.

Jurma Leino
Pia Järvenkylä
Sauna is like your wife, she hugs, and loves you! – JORMA LEINO
When I am sitting in sauna, sometimes I think nothing, sometimes everything.


Sauna is good for marriage, and together is simplythe best!


There can be silence in a crowded Finish Sauna.

Miika Viitanen

„Lisää löylyä?“

If you want more sauna steam, you politely ask "lissä löyly?" And a ladle of water flies onto the stove. Afterwards, the sauna guests often exchange ideas about its quality. “Hyvät löylyt” is heard over and over again - which attests to a good sauna steam. And in general, the social component: you get to know each other easily in the sauna. A conversation begins open- minded. Young as old. Everyone is the same in the sauna.

When we Finns talk about politics in sauna, it can get wild. (for example about climate change). Luckily the heads cool down in the avanto (ice whole at a lake/at the sea)!

Niko Vidqvist

For me sauna is a full body- and mind treatment. It’s cleaning outside and inside.

Tiia Capri

An hourglass? Nope. Close the door? Rare. It's a constant movement in and out. Because the Finns can't be asked twice: when it’s enough, they long for colder place. In the lake or in the sea. And then immediately back to the oven. Back to the community. And so it continues: water is constantly flying towards the sauna heater. It hisses, steams. The pearls will run down again soon.

Until about the Second World War, many children in Finland were still born in the sauna. Here they took their first breath in the Löyly, which breath life into their souls. Throughout their whole life, the sauna remains an important place for the Finns, a safe haven, a place to come together at - and also to let go. ALL IN. LIKE A PEARL. ALL WITH YOU. AT HOME.

Sauna is place to relax. That includes letting your mind go its own paths.


When I think back to my childhood, I was always grateful that there was lemonade after the sauna. Today I drink a beer afterwards. 


Christmas sauna is a must - you become clean and prepare to get presents.


I don't like Sauna. I love it!


For me sauna is like taking a bath.


I was born in Sauna, in 1939. In Vermuntila. — ESKO VUORINEN


All photos were taken under real conditions in four Finnish saunas around the Baltic Sea city of Rauma in the southwest of the country. At least at 65 degrees Celsius, sometimes even over 80! High humidity. Steam. The camera, the photographer and the flash were exposed to the same extreme conditions as the photographed. All participants were asked individually to take a seat at a prepared spot and then be photographed there.

Almost 30 people showed their sweat beads, most of them having been informed of the idea in advance. Some came by chance and spontaneously participated. People and technology survived the shooting without damage.

Before leaving for Finland, two extensive experiments had been carried out to determine whether and how the idea actually could be implemented in terms of technology and health. Important finding: It is indeed possible to endure a sauna photo shooting session in Finland, on the sauna floor. And: ice-cold Baltic Sea-water is sooo good!

The Making-of Video

Last, but not least!

PHOTOGRAPHED IN FEBRUARY 2020 near Rauma/Finland by the german photographer

Christoph Busse

(All Pictures from this Series, some alternatives and an PDF you will find here).

Please contact me to get the Password!

Very friendly and professional organized by the powerful

Katja Ansorge

(who also captured the thougths in the Löyly.)

Pictures powerful edited by

Katia Klose

Thank you very, very much!



to all the superious Models for their friendly support!

Special thanks to Puusaun, Lappi/ Narvi Järvi, Lahenvainio Rantasauna at the Kaljasjärvi

and to Enzo Forciniti and Thomas Rötting for their professional checkups before my travel to the north!