By: Amy Cooper, Detroit Ginger

Standing at the bar and kicking back a Magic Hat #9, I look at my watch. 10:29. I have my camera bag ready on the floor as I wait for my mentor for the evening. I kill time with one of my best friends, who happens to do bottle service on the weekends in this club. We are at The Grasshopper Underground in Ferndale, a hop, skip, and a jump away from Downtown Detroit. I see his shoes descend down the stairs into the packed room. You would think when a seasoned photographer drops into a club with his equipment in hand it would cause a commotion of needy patrons, but this is not the case. Dontae Rockymore, otherwise known as Mr. Heatcam comes with no ego, and naturally, everyone in the club flocks to him, not to get their 15 seconds of fame, but to say hello, get in some high fives, and some hugs. Believe it or not, these people aren’t thirsty for the flash bulb, they genuinely see Dontae as a friend.

Dontae and I at The Grasshopper Underground. Photo: Mr. Heatcam

Dontae and I at The Grasshopper Underground. Photo: Mr. Heatcam

“I try and show people the experience through my eyes,” Rockymore blurts over the music. Working beside him, we scan the club for photo-worthy moments. Watching him work is like viewing an animal in its natural habitat, pacing through the crowd, getting close to the action and flashbulbs popping through the strobes and lights.

In this underground house music mecca, Dontae captures a night out – but not in a way that fades into the distance in drunken smartphone selfies. It’s not just a typical night when he is in the house – every night becomes a night to remember. That is what makes Dontae different.

In my immersion into the Detroit photography scene, I’ve seen a lot of self-centered artists, the ones that get sucked in by the fame of what gigs they score or who they shoot for. They are vague about their work until it hits, and they wouldn’t for a second think to help you out if you are a budding photographer or could be perceived as competition. It’s a photog-eat-photog world out there in the D, and I dreaded the thought that I’d never find someone different. Then I met Mr. Rockymore.

In a real world opportunity, I was able to shadow the best club photographer that is on the Detroit scene, and now I’m learning the art and skill to do the same by working under Dontae’s guidance and being a contributor to, a site for nightlife photography and concert photography that spans across the United States.

Dontae believes in reaching back and lending a hand to someone starting out, and is interested in effecting as many people as possible in his lifetime. My best guess is he’s already done that, and will continue to do just that with his career.

To view his work, visit, and follow him on Instagram at @MrHeatcam. 

Photos by Mr. Heatcam and Acronym Creative Studio 
(Click to Continue)


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