Words from the mind of Shawn Lee
Saturday, July 26, 2014 1:12PM

Detroit is affectionately known as "THE 313"(area code of course), and a few of us took some time to say "Happy 313th Birthday Detroit!". July 24, 2014 marked the city's landmark day that hosted many events going on around town. Even though Detroit has had its share of obstacles to overcome, it or should I say "we" still have a great deal we're fighting for and a great legacy to leave behind. I am proud to call myself a Detroiter and everywhere I go to speak, I wear my Detroit Tigers hat and tell my story of how I was born, raised and still live in the city of Detroit. We are a city that innovated manufacturing for the world, we are the reason the world drives cars and... we are the home of the Motown Sound! This city has changed the course of music not only in this nation, but the world!

It may be a clichéd statement but it is very much true...If you can make it in Detroit, you can make it anywhere. Truth is people in this city have a resilience that I haven't seen anywhere else. We are strong spirited people with a resolve to overcome and NEVER QUIT! 

We took a photographic bus tour of Detroit on its 313th birthday to learn, highlight and honor the history and thriving infrastructure of our city and we had a blast! Take a look at some of the photographs taken and enjoy!

Remember, Detroit is still here! And we are coming back! #ROCKTHAT #313turns313



The I SEE DETROIT crew on the Detroit Riverfront.



The crew at the State Park Harbor on Detroit's Riverfront.


Spirit of Detroit.


Our bus was the Awesome...Detroit Bus Company! www.thedetroitbus.com



John George of Motor City Blight Busters addressing tourers in the beautified Brightmoor District. http://www.mcbbdetroit.com


Detroit City Councilman James Tate addresses tourers at the Motor City Java and Tea House. We toured his district, the awesome District 1 where great progress and revitalization is taking place. http://www.detroitmi.gov/CityCouncil/CouncilMemberJamesTateDistrict1.aspx


Little Liam is I SEE DETROIT'S youngest tourer ever. So cool!!! Shout out to his mom and dad Regina and Dayle for bringing him!

Little Ayo celebrates his birthday on the same day as Detroit! Happy Birthday Ayo! Thanks for coming dude! Shout out to mom Alice for bringing him and she took some pretty cool photos of Detroit and Ayo.


Rivard Plaza. Detroit City riverfront.


Amy Koenig photographing with her cell phone took some amazing photos of Detroit. We gifted Amy with a special prize because she is the only person who has gone on every single I SEE DETROIT tour since its beginning in 2010. Thanks Amy! You ROCK!


The Spirit of Detroit statue.


Restored Old Redford Theatre is in full operation and has been fully restored using 100% private dollars. $300K restoration in the heart of the Brightmoor community. http://redfordtheatre.com


The Family and Owners of Sweet Potato Sensations - One of the fastest growing bake shops in Southeastern Michigan, there sweet potato products are featured in Whole Foods stores. Located in the revitalized Old Redford/Brightmoor District. www.sweetpotatosensations.com


Detroit's 313th Birthday Cake!


Milliken State Park - Detroit River Front. http://detroitriverfront.org/riverfront/east-riverfront/milliken-state-park-lighthouse


Shawn Lee if the founder and director of I SEE DETROIT, a Fine Art turned community initiative designed to reach across Metro Detroit borders, cultures and age groups to foster a greater sense of community through exciting and innovative events. Check us out at www.iseedetroit.com


Also, Shawn is the owner and founder of SHAWN LEE STUDIOS in Farmington Hills, MI and Detroit, MI. He is a photography instructor and provides high end photography services. Check him out at www.shawnleestudios.com

Thursday, March 13, 2014 4:18PM

Well...I'll answer that question for you. Courage looks like a teenage girl named Maia Wright who on Friday March 7, 2014 lost her battle with colon cancer.

I was all set to write a blog post on my experience at WPPI 2014 in Las Vegas and how cool it was to be a speaker and talk about all of the cool people I met and how it was such a boost for my career... but all that can now wait until next week. I was busy in this season making plans for the rest of my life in photography when I received a text that told me that Maia passed away in her sleep. Ironically, I was at a funeral when I received word and I began to weep, not necessarily because I was sad but because of the impact she had on my life in the very short time that I knew her.

February 2013 is when she found out she had colon cancer and because she went to Renaissance High School in Detroit (my alma mater), I really wanted to engage somehow. Found out that Maia had to...

1. Leave school immediately

2. Undergo chemo therapy and blood transfusions consistently and aggressively

3. Finish her education at home while undergoing treatment

4. Mom Jamilah Perkins decided to leave work to take care of Maia full time while also taking care of two small children (Maia's brother and sister :))

(Maia showing her necklace, a bead was added for every procedure she had undergone)

Maia show her necklace, A bead is added for every procedure she has undergone


The family had no health insurance to pay mounting medical bills. Also Maia having missed the entire second half of school wanted to go to prom. So following the lead of her childhood friend Walter Brockington who felt motivated to do something for her, we decided to try and send her to prom and help pay some medical bills.

(Maia's High School Senior Photos) Renaissance High, Detroit 2013 Graduate 


(Maia, her mom Jamilah and little sister)


(Maia and her family at the benefit concert) She was in high Spirits and stayed that way


(Me and Maia at benefit concert with Marsha Ambrosious) Given by John Cook of Really Living Foundation


(Senior Citizens of Eden Manor, Detroit headed by Alison Black attending event for Maia)


(Eden Manor residents presenting Maia with funds raised for treatment of colon cancer, They prayed for her and encouraged her.)


(Maia telling her story of hope and faith to Stephanie Davis of WWJ950 AM Local News)


(Maia with her classmates from Renaissance High School that organized the rally)


(Maia with her friends and fellow classmates after the rally)


(Maia says Thank you to everyone at the rally for the show of Love)

(Maia, mom and Walter and Tiffany Brockington- the 2 that started the whole movement)               (Maia and Renaissance High School Principal)


In the little time I spent talking to Maia and also speaking with her mom and family, I realized that she never complained about her condition. I learned that she prayed more and was more determined to help somebody in life. 

My prayer is that I am able to make as much imapct in the rest of my life that Maia made in a little over a year of her 19 year old life. She taught me how to attack life with courage, faith and non complaint. She taught me through her everyday living with a disease that normally attacks elderly people, that life is not necessarily about quantity and length as it is quality and impact.



We helped send Maia to prom last year, and the family has no idea that I am doing this but I am asking that we also help send her to her final resting place. Maia's family has not asked for anything but I personally know there was no insurance and they are still paying medical bills so whatever you can give would be a blessing :-) Thank you all very much! 


Click the link below to donate.


Thursday, February 06, 2014 11:08AM
By Shawn Lee

Well Shawn...what makes you say that?

Fact is your image whether it's on a business card, your website, facebook, twitter, foursquare or any other social media or media platform gets a ton more mileage and views than you will ever get walking through your 24 hour day and showing everyone you come in contact with your beautiful face. :)

Just on Facebook alone Google now estimates that about 590 million unique users on are requesting a staggering 840 billion pages every month, excluding application pages, which translates to 1,423 pages per user per month. That means 38.5% of the users on the Internet are using Facebook in some way. The average user visits Facebook 41 times per month, which gives the site 24 billion visits per month.

So what does all of this mean for my new or existing Business, Start-up or Venture?

Believe it or not, perception of who you are and how you conduct business as a professional is perceived from the images people see of you regardless of whether they've met you are not. (i.e Headshots, Photos, Logos, websites, business cards)

Personally speaking, I would not have even gotten phone calls from some of my top clients if the imagery they saw on my website, social media sites and google searches were'nt first class. And believe me, anyone seriously considering doing business with you WILL SEARCH YOU OUT! Most companies said they were 75% sure of their decision to do business with me before they ever reached out to me due to the presentation they'd seen on my online collateral(web stuff).

What's your point Shawn?

Your business' image is just as important as the business itself. Make sure to invest in good imagery, No.. not good, great imagery. This means headshots and/or professional photography, a clean and decent website and well designed and printed business cards and literature. It will make a world of difference when you (OR YOUR IMAGE) enters the marketplace.


Professional Headshots by Shawn Lee of SHAWN LEE STUDIOS of prominent national and international thought leaders  highly revered in the fields of Branding and Marketing.


Hajj Flemings, Founder Brand Camp University, GoKit - Image as featured CNN, CNN Money.com


Peter Shankman, Founder HARO, shankman.com                                          C.C. Chapman, Author of Content Rules, cc-chapman.com











February 22, 2014  8:30am - 12:30pm

@Atomic Object

Detroit, MI


Sunday, January 26, 2014 12:27PM

Had a great time at Imaging USA this year. The annual photography conference which hosts up to 10,000 pro and enthusiast photographers from around the globe, took place in Phoenix, AZ January 12-14 at the beautiful Phoenix Conference Center.

I was honored to be able to speak and do a "live" shoot on Miller's Professional Imaging stage this year...IT WAS AWESOME! I taught on "Cutting Edge HS Senior Portraiture: From consult to final output" and "Thinking Outside the Box". And Brandon Heiss and the team at Westcott provided the innovative continuous lighting system called ICELIGHTS.


And for the latest and greatest in the tech world and the utmost in Adobe education and training, please check out Terry White's Tech Blog! Really want to thank him for helping the live shoot take place. This dude rocks and I'm honored he's a friend. Thanks T!


I have to say, for any photographer looking to take their craft to the next level, meet new people, learn great and amazing techniques, refine your skillset, and learn from the best in the game, I would highly recommend going to Imaging USA and conferences like it. This experience over the past few years have caused me to really refine my brand and ability. I have started more worthwhile business relationships than I ever have doing this on my own and not attending these conferences. I will now be attending WPPI in Las Vegas this year and am really, really looking forward to it. In my opinion, any time you have an opportunity to learn and refine your skills amongst some of the best, DO IT!


Below, you'll find a few images from Imaging USA 2014 including one of me speaking while Jason Groupp (head of WPPI) is watching. Really? WOW! Talk about pressure! Glad I didn't know he was there :)! 

Thanks for reading and I hope it helps someone who is on the fence about becoming members of these entities and going to these very worth while conferences!


Jason is the well dressed guy in the bow tie


Thursday, November 01, 2012 10:41AM
By Shawn Lee


A few weeks ago I posted on social media my encounter with Bobby a homeless man who pan handles in and around Metro Detroit. I decided to repost with a photograph I took of Bobby with his permission.

--Talked to Bobby, a homeless guy that pan handles off the Lodge 8 mile service drive Detroit/Southfiled, MI border. I asked him, "Why do you dance and bow before people and seem to be happy all the time being homeless?" His answer, "When it's hot outside I sleep on rocks, when it's cold I try to get enough money to get a room, most times I do, sometimes I don't...but every morning I wake up, I'm grateful because God has given me another chance, so I dance." His statement brought tears to my eyes. How dare I ever be down on my luck when a man who has not much to his name still finds cause to be grateful and filled with joy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this what I see when I SEE DETROIT. It is this type of attitude among the people here that I find more often than not. It shows that you're environment doesn't have to dictate to you, your attitude does. Awesome guy with an awesome outlook on life. I learned something from Bobby that day.