Detroit’s Largest Photography Community

About us

“Learn Through Your Lens”

Since we launched in 2016, RAWDetroit has held true to its mission: to bridge the gap between the curious, the conscious, and the established photographer by harnessing the power of the photography community through mentorship, partnership, and education.
We are dedicated to making a lasting difference in the city of Detroit.

Our Accomplishments

Over the Years


Founded RAWDetroit | Began Hosting Creative Meet-Ups in Detroit

Founded by Shawn, a portrait, travel, and journalist photographer from London, RAWDetroit was built out of a love for the energy and magnetism found only in the Motor City.

After spending several years capturing and documenting the city, Shawn realized that, despite this energy and passion, there was a gap in Detroit’s creative community. Photographers shed a raw and natural light on the magic of the city, but were often isolated from each other: RAWDetroit began as a way to fill this need to connect and collaborate among local photographers.


RAWDetroit Partnered with Verizon & Life in Color

Originally created as an online community through social media, RAWDetroit quickly grew into local photography meet-ups, where like-minded creatives and professionals were brought together to share their passion for photography.

After several of these successful meet-ups, RAWDetroit began partnering with local and national companies to co-host events and help drive momentum within Detroit’s creative scene. For both the first and second annual #ConnectDetroit meet-up, we partnered with Verizon to host the event at Detroit’s historic Madison Theater, where over 140+ attendees left the event with a FREE JBL Flip3 Bluetooth Speaker, a wireless charger and extras.

We also teamed up with Life In Color, host of the “world’s largest paint party”, to provide photographers the opportunity to win an all-inclusive experience to capture content at their 10th Anniversary Paint Party, hosted in Miami in 2017.


RAWDetroit Started Hosting Creative Workshops

Access to opportunities is core to RAWDetroit, including access for youth and aspiring photographers to learn about the creative arts. We began building educational programs by partnering with local organizations ThinkDetroit, KO Gallery, and Detroit Artists Test Lab to host workshops, panels, and creative fundraisers throughout the summer and fall. These events aimed to bring together emerging and established artists and photographers and connect them with the city’s larger creative community.


Campaign for Forbes Media

Recently, RAWDetroit has connected with Forbes Media to support the Forbes Under 30 Summit scheduled to be hosted in Detroit for the next four years, from 2019 until 2022.

Through this partnership, each year RAWDetroit has the opportunity to provide access for four local creatives to attend and cover the 3-day event. In 2019, our winners networked with creative entrepreneurs from across the globe and saw first-hand the businesses, organizations, and individuals that fuel the Motor City. Additionally, RAWDetroit captured content for Forbes social media during the event, highlighting our work and professionals to a global audience. 



In an effort to support our local creative community during the COVID-19 pandemic RAWDetroit offered photographers the opportunity to use our successful national social media platform to sell prints of their work and receive 100% of the proceeds.

Additionally, RAWDetroit assisted 48 local artists in securing donations and resources during the pandemic. We are able to support our community due to the generous donations and overwhelming support of our social media platforms. We couldn’t do this without you and thank you for your continued support of our mission.



A Creative Quest 

We hosted a meet-up to showcase, educate, and bring more awareness to murals created by local Black artists.

Throughout the quest, RAWDetroit featured artwork from around Eastern Market. A tour showcasing, capturing, and providing knowledge about the murals that keep the market alive.


Sponsor A Creative 

Our 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Sponsor A Creative (SAC) was born. We wanted to create an initiative that would draw attention to the professional opportunities that exist in the creative arts while giving young people the training and mentorship necessary to hone their skills and learn how to navigate arts careers.

Sponsor A Creative is a creative arts initiative based in Detroit, Michigan working to close the opportunity gap in arts education by providing pathways to successful creative careers for young people in disadvantaged communities.


Sponsor A Creative is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit creative arts initiative based in Detroit, Michigan working to close the opportunity gap in arts education by providing pathways to successful creative careers for young people in disadvantaged communities.

Our vision is to be one of America’s leading resources for championing quality arts education and creative career mapping for young people in America’s most disadvantaged communities.

Sponsor A Creative raises money for art departments at low-income schools so educators can provide students with the tools necessary to receive a world-class art education as part of their journey toward sustainable careers in the creative arts.


Sign up To Sponsor a Creative 


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Contact Us

(586) 842 -6795