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(Selfportraits of Rita Lino) TRY TO MAKE MYSELF A WORK OF ART 80 Slides, 35mm, Color, 2012 2 sync video projections, PAL 4:3, 60′, Loop, Color, Stereo, 2012

Pubic Hair, Self-Portraits and Ritalin

Sky’s the Limit

Rita Lino is a portuguese photographer living in Berlin. She is well-known for her nude self-portraits showing a certain beauty that seemed to be forgotten: it is natural, pure and authentic. I met her for an interview, where we talked about her portrait-series she did for our FACIAL category, her working process and the way she comes up with ideas.

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LET’S TALK ABOUT PUBIC HAIR! WHEN I SAW YOUR PICTURES, I WAS LIKE „WHOA, THIS IS HOW A HAIRY PUSSY LOOKS LIKE. HAVENT SEEN THAT IN A WHILE.“

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I can count on one hand how many waxes I had in my life. Maybe five. I only wax in summer, when I am with my friends on the beach. But normally, I don’t care. I have been with boys and when they saw my unshaved pussy the first time, they were really confused. I said to them: „Shall I leave?“ But they were always like: „No! Let´s try that out.“ A lot of them had never seen a hairy pussy before. It actually depends if they come from a city or the country side. I am like my family. They are completely lazy and relaxed when it comes to stuff like that.

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WHEN I SENT YOU THE THEME FOR THE PICTURES,  WHICH WAS “YOUR NAKED BODY SHOULD ONLY BELONG TO THOSE WHO FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR NACKED SOUL.” – A LINE CHAPLIN WROTE IN A LETTER TO HIS DAUGHTER – WHAT POPPED IN TO YOUR MIND?

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I thought, this is really easy for me. This is for me. When I think about a naked soul, I see the real „You“. No shampoo, no make-up. When you wake up in the morning. In this first moment someone is able to see the naked soul. Of course I made pictures which have a certain beauty in it. Because you need to do something which is between truth and beauty.

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HOW IS YOUR VERY OWN PROCESS OF CREATING PICTURES?

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For me it is not about a concept. The concept comes from inside of me and sometimes I just need the perfect light or the perfect spot. I choose clothes and accessories very carefully, because it is a way to materialize my concept, even though this concept is just about feelings and emotions. When I say it is not about the concept, I mean it is not an intellectual approach, it is about love, madness, beauty and feelings.

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YOU DO MAINLY SELF PORTRAITS. HOW DID THAT START?

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I don’t know. I never wake up in the morning and think to myself: Let’s make self-portraits. I was very young. 16 or 17. And my father gave me my first real camera. It was a digital camera and I started taking pictures. Then I started working with Photoshop and I loved what I can do with it. My father is very passionate about photography and has got a lot of different cameras. When I entered the University, I knew I wanted to do something with images. I didn´t know what exactly but I knew the direction. The University was far away from home. I was really alone and didn’t visit my parents for a long time. And I started taking pictures.

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WAS IT NUDE OR NORMAL PICTURES?

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All kinds of pictures. But the nude were always very sexual. I am a very sexual person. I think doing all these portraits and all this stuff has a very simple reason: I need attention! Because I am very shy. If you meet me on the street, I will get red. I am super shy. This is the way I get attention. I am an anonymous person and I don’t want to be anonymous. When I was younger I took these pictures and I felt confident. This kind of work makes me feel very confident. People come to me or write to me: „Hey, you are Rita Lino. I really love your work!“ I never thought about what I was doing but since I am older I am reflecting and I can see what this person inside of me needs and wants. I am here, look at me. I exist.

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IS RITA LINO YOUR REAL NAME OR IS IT AN ARTIST NAME?

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No, no. It is my real name! It is my own name. It has got nothing to do with the drug. So Rita Lino are my two names. Lino is not my surname. A lot of people think it is not my real name. I never took Ritalin my life. It’s crazy because I never thought about this topic. It is my name. But when I finished my master, my teacher came to me and said: „Rita, I need to talk to you. The work you do under the name Rita Lino. Is this your real name?“ And I said: „Yes, it is my real name!“ In portugese Lino means Saint.  I should write it on my website.

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TELL ME ABOUT THE PROCESS OF THE PICTURES YOU DID FOR I LOVE YOU!

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I read the line of Chaplin and I was really happy to do it. Let’s do something really simple, something really me. Normally. I make up my mind and then I start taking pictures of what grew in my head. And to be honest, when I made them, I didn´t think a lot before. I just did it. Most of the pictures I made with my boyfriend and some I did with a selftimer. I couldn’t spend to much time on thinking about the concept. I just wanted to do it. They are Polaroids, so they are not edited or transformed. They are pure. The naked soul is pure.

In the beginning I was really afraid to send it. I have every ILY issues and it didn’t match for me. So, I was pretty happy when you said, you like them.

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