Mary Stengel Bentley Art Opening

Opening Night Event for Mary Stengel Bentley and her series Downtown Drawings at Morgan's on Fulton in Chicago - Event photography by Michael Courier

An opening-night guest looks at the detail in a piece by Mary Stengel Bentley.

Here are a few images from art opening celebrating the work of Mary Stengel Bentley and her Downtown Drawings. The event took place at the Morgan’s on Fulton gallery space.

Opening Night Event for Mary Stengel Bentley and her series Downtown Drawings at Morgan's on Fulton in Chicago - Event photography by Michael Courier

You can view a video of her process on her website.

Opening Night Event for Mary Stengel Bentley and her series Downtown Drawings at Morgan's on Fulton in Chicago - Event photography by Michael CourierOpening Night Event for Mary Stengel Bentley and her series Downtown Drawings at Morgan's on Fulton in Chicago - Event photography by Michael Courier

Envision Unlimited at Arlington Race Track

Envision Unlimited at Arlington Park Race Track - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Guests build stuffed horses during a fundraising event with Envision Unlimited.

This summer I worked with Envision Unlimited to help them capture their fundraising event at Arlington Park Race Track. The mission of Envision is to “provide persons with disabilities or other special needs quality services which promote choice, independence and community integration”. You can learn more about their organization on their website.

Envision Unlimited at Arlington Park Race Track - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyEnvision Unlimited at Arlington Park Race Track - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyEnvision Unlimited at Arlington Park Race Track - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyEnvision Unlimited at Arlington Park Race Track - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyEnvision Unlimited at Arlington Park Race Track - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago

TPAN Ride for Aids Chicago 2017 - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Participants in the 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago wave to the camera.

TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

A joyous embrace at the end of a long, 200-mile journey.

In July I photographed a two-day event that I will never forget. It was hot, exhausting, and a completely worthwhile adventure.

TPAN, the Testing Positive Aware Network, reached out to me about photographing their annual fundraising event—the 14th annual Ride for Aids Chicago. The event was a 200-mile cycling journey raising money to benefit people living with and vulnerable to HIV and AIDS.

The event started at Chandler Park in Evanston on July 8th. Each rider made their way along the route to Camp Lutherdale in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Once there, they relaxed and refueled. (I did, too. Or at least I tried.) The following morning, again at daybreak, the riders made their way back to Leahy Park in Evanston.

When the riders made it back to Leahy Park, they were greeted by a marching band, a finish line made of balloons, and were surrounded by cheering friends and supportive riders who had finished before them.

The elation of this moment—of completing a 200-mile journey—was my favorite moment to capture. Going into this event I had envisioned a few ideas and images that I wanted to create, but I was unaware of how truly emotional the finish line would be.

And sitting here, four months later, I still cannot say how truly impactful this experience has been. From the images I made, to the people I met, from the stories that were shared—I am grateful to have had this opportunity to help a great organization and a worthy cause.

TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

At various points along the route, there were refueling stations where riders could get rehydrated, eat some food, and to catch their breath.

TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Organized Chaos—Chicago’s premier philanthropic motorcycle organization for women—volunteered their time to help secure the route and provide assistance to the riders when needed.

TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Participants in the 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago reach the halfway point of Camp Lutherdale.

TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

A century ride is a 100-mile journey that is completed within 12 hours. The 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago was a back-to-back century ride.

TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Throughout various points of the route, you could find dedicated and enthusiastic supporters cheering on the riders.

TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Each participant received a medal for their accomplishments.

TPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier PhotographyTPAN 2017 Ride for Aids Chicago - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography