I first noticed Maurice Scarlett’s black and white photography via Instagram from a picture that he took of his friend Butch Dawson, an artist who we’ve feautured on Léte before. Although many photographer’s shoot in black and white, there was something about Scarlett’s photos that intrigued me. Maybe it’s the group shots of Baltimore's Basement Rap collective, the grain, and the youthful energy that each take posseses. He has been shooting for about 5 years. Where some might see lack of color as a limitation he’s found a style, a clique, and a world of his own.
How old are you and how long have you been shooting?
I’m 24, and I’ve been shooting for about 5 yrs.
Where are you from?
I’m born, and raised in Baltimore, MD.
How did you begin shooting?
I began shooting in 2011, I was being introduced to new people, and new environments. I figured I should start documenting my surroundings, and challenge myself to new craft. Plus photography always gained my curiosity. So it was perfect timing.
How often do you shoot?
It’s not really planned. I just try to shoot as much as possible.
"Black & White has soul to me. It’s powerful, and timeless to me." - Maurice Scarlett
How did you begin shooting?
I began shooting in 2011. I was being introduced to new people, and new environments. I figured I should start documenting my surroundings, and challenge myself to new craft. Plus photography always gained my curiosity. So it was perfect timing.
"I have nothing against digital, but film is more honest to me." - Maurice Scarlett
Do you have multiple cameras or is there a trusty camera that you rock with the most?
I have one film, and digital camera. I tend to shoot with film more than my digital. I just starting grabbing disposables sometimes too, but my film cam is basically my sidekick.
Film is raw, and in the moment. I have nothing against digital, but film is more honest to me. I can’t look to see what I shot at that moment, nor edit it. You gotta have that eye. Plus it provides this tight euphoric feeling when you actually see the photos. I can’t explain, it keeps me shooting.
You shoot a lot with Basement Rap movement in Baltimore. How'd you meet them? What's one/some of your favorite songs from the collective?
I met the majority of Basement Rap members around 2011. We all just clicked, and become like a fam. My favorite songs from them are “Filth Liquor”, “Til The End”, “Mega Man”, “Pipe Down”, it’s plenty more too.
What inspires your photography?
I think life inspires my photography. I’m forever a student, and always learning. That keeps me going. Life is short, and that makes me capture these moments I want to live on forever
What have you been working on lately?
I’ve just been creating everyday in some type of way. Working on bringing these visions to life.
You shoot primarily in B&W, which I think is dope. Is there any reason why? Do you prefer it over color?
B&W has soul to me. It’s powerful, and timeless to me. It connects with me more than color. Color is cool, but I feel out of my aesthetic when I’m shooting with color.
What's your developing process? Do you do it on your own?
At the moment I send my film rolls out to get developed, but overtime I’m going to learn how to develop and process my own film. I need to take that step.
What have you been listening to lately?
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Asaad(Saudi Money), The Doors, Future, Tame Impala, Basement Rap, Kanye, Tyler The Creator, and Mac DeMarco.