Capturing the Beautiful Game with @culafernandes

For more photos from Ana Carolina, follow @culafernandes on Instagram.

"I was 13 years old the first time I set foot in Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro’s soccer stadium,” Ana Carolina (@culafernandes), a Rio de Janeiro photojournalist, says. “I will never forget the overwhelming magical energy that hit me there. It’s precisely that feeling that has brought me back to the stadium hundreds of times.”

Ana Carolina grew up in a soccer-obsessed home. “I think it would be odd of me not to love soccer,” she says. “My first memory is watching the 1970 World Cup when I was seven. I also remember tagging along to my father’s pick-up games or playing soccer with my brothers in our hallway.” Ana Carolina’s photos featuring a soccer ball and the ocean began with an accident. “I saw a boy playing soccer on the edge of the water and without thinking twice, I put the waterproof cover on my phone and went in the water to shoot,” she says. “The water is never calm on that beach—it’s extremely difficult to take photos and swim at the same time, especially without flippers on. I got hit by a lot of waves, but when I saw the result, I celebrated just as I would a soccer goal.”