For 10 years photographer Rita Lino has kept a visual diary that documents the boundaries of her own body
“Taking photos of myself is a relationship. The camera knows me better than I know myself. It knows how to look at me and it shows glimpses of what I could never see reflected in a mirror,” says Portuguese-born, Berlin-based photographer Rita Lino. Her new book Entartete (German for degenerate) is a voyeuristic peep into her own sexuality, baring all amongst the publication’s pages, self-portraits see Lino crawling from a dog’s kennel to frolicking under a coffee table as she questions the possibilities of beauty, the body and its sexuality, uninhibited. “Is it Art or Degeneracy?” she asks, as she explains that the title is pulled from “Entartete Kunst”, a derogatory term used by the Nazi party as part of their campaign against modern art.
Hailing from a small village in south Portugal, Lino found herself bored and restless, with photography the perfect distraction. Harvesting her imagery from the past 10 years to create Entartete, the book is a small part of her visual, on-going ‘diary’. “Sometimes, when first approached, my work is seen as amateur, the work of a young, bored and depressed girl, taking naked pictures as a call for attention. But if you go through my work you can see that it’s not like that. What I’m doing, and have been doing for 10 years, is an obsession – you can like it or not.”
Nurturing this journey with her analogue camera and her body, she explains, “Now it’s what I do. It’s an extension of myself – pushing myself, my emotions to another level. I’m always curious as to what's going to be next and I want be able to show my self revelation, the exploration and the limits of my own body and perception, and invite the viewer to watch closely and to make their own interpretation. Through these images, I observe and study the body and its emotions – it’s an intimate visual diary.”