When it comes to documenting the weird and wonderful world of Argentine football, sometimes a picture really can tell a thousand words.
That was the premise for Sebastian Frej, the photographer who took it upon himself to capture the essence of the sport through the medium of his camera lens.
The 43-year-old, born in Poland and currently based in London, travelled to Argentina four times and took in more than 50 matches the length and breadth of Buenos Aires province, from the heights of the Primera to the rough and ready B Metropolitana.
The results can be seen in Football Passion Buenos Aires, a lavish example of photojournalism lovingly put together by Sebastian, which went on sale at the start of 2018.
How did you come up with the idea of documenting Argentine football in such a way?
In Europe, the only time the media talks about Argentine league football is when the barra bravas kill each other, or when a goalkeeper eats a hamburger on the pitch. I wanted to show that there is something else there, a lot more.
Did you have prior awareness of the sport in Argentina before beginning?
I knew a little bit about the league, in particular the strange (from a European point of view) relegation system. I learnt this from the game Football Manager!
Were there any particular challenges to creating such a project here?
I only know about 30 words in Spanish, that was the biggest problem for me! On the other hand I am the editor, publisher, sponsor and photographer, all-in-one, so there were a lot of things I needed to do all by myself.
[Racing Club’s] El Cilindro is my favourite but truly I love them all, they are all different to each other compared to the new modern soulless arenas in Europe.
What memories stand out from your time taking photographs? Can you remember a moment, a fan, or any game that was unforgettable for whatever reason?
Tigre versus Rosario stands out for personal reasons. The day before I was feeling very sick at La Bombonera and couldn’t get all the pictures I wanted to, and the next day I was standing in the middle of the pitch just before the players came out. My morale was very low, I was thinking ‘What I am doing here?’ And then Rosario Central’s players came out with with a banner that said “Fuerza Seba.” It wasn’t for me obviously but it had the same name as mine, so that made me cry and then smile again.