Six-Year Anniversary

The James Beard Foundation Awards at the Lyric Opera House - Event Photography by Michael Courier

The stage at the James Beard Foundation Awards at the Lyric Opera House.

The James Beard Foundation Awards at the Lyric Opera House - Event Photography by Michael Courier

The audience at the James Beard Foundation Awards at the Lyric Opera House.

The James Beard Foundation Awards at the Lyric Opera House - Event Photography by Michael Courier

Jesse Tyler Ferguson hosted the James Beard Foundation Awards at the Lyric Opera House; I also had behind-the-scenes access and got to see how the award ceremony was produced!

In May, I celebrated six rewarding, stressful, and exciting years of operating a photography business.

Instead of condensing a year of projects into a single post, I wanted to share a two-week span of work that I completed around the time I was celebrating my anniversary.

From May 6th to May 19th, I worked on 14 projects. These projects included award shows, performances, discussion panels, and fundraising events.

Though this does not encompass everything that I do, these projects highlight the variety of work that I photograph — and the type of work that means the most to me.

I love helping organizations that are mission-driven with educational components — sparking dialogue and action. Most of my work is event photography, but I love the performing arts. A sweet spot for me are performance events, events that have a performing arts component, but are engage with the public through a variety of avenues.

Thankfully, during my anniversary, I was able to combine all of my favorite types of projects and celebrate with a lot of fun work.

Panel discussion at the Chicago Architecture Center - Event Photography by Michael Courier

A panel discussion at the Chicago Architecture Center.

Fundraising Gala at The Palmer House Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier

In front of a step-and-repeat for Envision Unlimited, and their annual fundraising gala at The Palmer House Chicago.

Marcela Salinas performs Estado Vegetal by Manuela Infante at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago - Performing Arts Photography by Michael Courier

Marcela Salinas performs Estado Vegetal by Manuela Infante at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

The Mushroom Cure performed by Adam Strauss at the Greehouse Theater Center - Performing Arts Photography by Michael Courier

The Mushroom Cure performed by Adam Strauss at the Greehouse Theater Center.

Bloomsday by Remy Bumppo Theatre Company at Theater Wit - Performing Arts Photography by Michael Courier

Bloomsday by Remy Bumppo Theatre Company at Theater Wit.

Panel and round-table discussions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier

A panel and a round-table discussion at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, in partnership with Free Write, working through the experience of storytelling, visualizing community, and culture-making.

Fundraising and awareness walk for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation - Event Photography by Michael Courier

Fundraising and awareness walk for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Conversations about Justice

Conversations about Justice with the Aspen Institute in Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier

The Aspen Institute hosted events at the Chicago History Museum, facilitating conversations about justice — and injustices — throughout American history. The events brought together students from the Chicago community to have an open conversation about our history as a nation, and the battles that have been fought for individual freedoms.

There are a lot of reasons as to why I love my job, but one of my favorites is the ability to learn while I work. Toward the end of last year, I documented a couple of events for The Aspen Institute — and I learned a lot.

The Aspen Institute facilitated two-day events with students from Chicago, to have conversations about our history and to build solidarity. The events were a nice history refresher for me, but I particularly loved learning from the students, and learning from their stories and experiences.

While I work, I try to keep a number perspectives in my head — the literal interpretation, but also the figurative. As a photographer, I’m often in rooms with people I do not know, with backgrounds and experiences vastly different than my own. As I navigate new spaces and sensitive conversations, I’m able to expand my frame of reference — to make better images, but to, hopefully, be a better person.

Conversations about Justice with the Aspen Institute in Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier

Part of the Facing Freedom exhibit at the Chicago History Museum.

Conversations about Justice with the Aspen Institute in Chicago - Event Photography by Michael CourierConversations about Justice with the Aspen Institute in Chicago - Event Photography by Michael CourierConversations about Justice with the Aspen Institute in Chicago - Event Photography by Michael CourierConversations about Justice with the Aspen Institute in Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier

On February 19th, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order that forcibly relocated Japanese Americans into internment camps on the West Coast of the United States. The evacuation poster (left) is from San Francisco in April of 1942.

I’m not eloquent enough, nor smart enough, to say anything new about the horrific internment of Japanese Americans during World War 2. If you’re unfamiliar with this aspect of American history, the Facing Freedoms exhibit at the Chicago History Museum is a wonderful resource for you. But I would like to call attention to the More Perfect podcast that has a story about Fred Korematsu, a Japanese American who sued the U.S. Government over the executive order that President Roosevelt issued.

Conversations about Justice with the Aspen Institute in Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier

Dolores Huerta was one of the organizers behind the Delano Grape Strike — a labor strike for fair wages. Dolores was recently featured in a documentary, and her Ted Talk was just released.

Conversations about Justice with the Aspen Institute in Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier

A statue of Ida B. Wells at the Chicago History Museum. She was an investigative journalist and a leader in the Civil Rights Movement.

Conversations about Justice with the Aspen Institute in Chicago - Event Photography by Michael CourierConversations about Justice with the Aspen Institute in Chicago - Event Photography by Michael CourierConversations about Justice with the Aspen Institute in Chicago - Event Photography by Michael CourierConversations about Justice with the Aspen Institute in Chicago - Event Photography by Michael CourierConversations about Justice with the Aspen Institute in Chicago - Event Photography by Michael CourierConversations about Justice with the Aspen Institute in Chicago - Event Photography by Michael CourierConversations about Justice with the Aspen Institute in Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier

Walk 4 Hearing 2018

Walk 4 Hearing 2018 with the Hearing Loss Association of America - Event Photography by Michael Courier

The Walk 4 Hearing in Chicago had a lot of happy participants!

Here are a few of my favorite moments from the Walk 4 Hearing awareness walk that took place in the fall of 2018. The event was organized by the Hearing Loss Association of America, and it took place at the Diversey Harbor in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago.

Walk 4 Hearing 2018 with the Hearing Loss Association of America - Event Photography by Michael Courier

Face painting at the Walk 4 Hearing.

Walk 4 Hearing 2018 with the Hearing Loss Association of America - Event Photography by Michael CourierWalk 4 Hearing 2018 with the Hearing Loss Association of America - Event Photography by Michael CourierWalk 4 Hearing 2018 with the Hearing Loss Association of America - Event Photography by Michael CourierWalk 4 Hearing 2018 with the Hearing Loss Association of America - Event Photography by Michael CourierWalk 4 Hearing 2018 with the Hearing Loss Association of America - Event Photography by Michael CourierWalk 4 Hearing 2018 with the Hearing Loss Association of America - Event Photography by Michael CourierWalk 4 Hearing 2018 with the Hearing Loss Association of America - Event Photography by Michael CourierWalk 4 Hearing 2018 with the Hearing Loss Association of America - Event Photography by Michael CourierWalk 4 Hearing 2018 with the Hearing Loss Association of America - Event Photography by Michael CourierWalk 4 Hearing 2018 with the Hearing Loss Association of America - Event Photography by Michael Courier