In 2019, The UN named Finland the happiest country the Spanish magazine sent Manuel Vazquez and journalist Ana Alfageme to find out why. Saunas are a big part of life there; the country has more than 2 million inhabitants and is public. The couple agreed that they would be good places to find locals to interview.
This photo was taken on a frosty day in November, when light is only expected for six hours. The couple had already tried the magnificent beach sauna. “I didn’t think I could do it,” Vazquez laughs. “But it really releases endorphins. It’s refreshing.” Next, Vazquez wanted to look for a more authentic, more traditional version that used wood, and he had heard a particular recommendation in Helsinki’s Kallio district. just sit on an icy street. “
Vazquez attracted a retro neon sign, the way the red light tinted wet land, and countless details. “They create a narrative, tell a story. The empty chairs next to the men seem to invite you to sit with them.
“I was going to shoot properly with my digital camera, but first I quickly took this for Pixel 3, almost like a test shot. Then we went to break the ice.”