MCA’s 50th Anniversary

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

The opening ceremony for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s 50th anniversary celebration.

The most surreal event I’ve ever photographed would have to be the 50th anniversary celebration for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. It was a complete sensory overload in the best way possible — there was dancing, music, public performances, and gallery talks of all sorts. The crowds were electric, and it was such a great time!

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Cheryl Lynn Bruce leads a gallery discussion at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago during their 50th anniversary celebration.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Art by Snapchat by Brendan Fernandes — a dance performance directed through Snapchat.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

The performers in Art by Snapchat shared their space with Felix — a 26-foot-tall skeleton of a fictional cat, created by Maurizio Cattelan

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Beautiful, art-inspired cakes on display by Emily Nejad

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Open 24 Hours by Edra Soto

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Rehearsals for Ways of Being by Rachel Ellison.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

The South Shore Drill Team performs outside of the MCA.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Whistle Hang Out by Liz McCarthy.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's 50th Anniversary Celebration - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Frank Abagnale Speaking Event

Frank Abagnale Jr. speaking at an event with RISMedia - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Frank Abagnale Jr. speaking at an event with RISMedia at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.

Toward the end of 2017, I photographed an event for RISMedia with Frank Abagnale Jr. as the guest speaker. As someone who is familiar with the background of his life, it was a wonderful opportunity to photograph him. As someone who is also a technology geek and is interested in how technology affects society and law, it was fantastic experience to spend some time talking with Frank after the event about a variety of different topics.

Frank Abagnale Jr. speaking at an event with RISMedia - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Frank Abagnale Jr. speaking at an event with RISMedia - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

Frank Abagnale Jr. speaking at an event with RISMedia - Event Photography by Michael Courier Photography

A fancy ice sculpture on display at the Palmer House Hilton during an event with RISMedia.

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 Photography

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

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

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

TPAN 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 Photography

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

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

TPAN 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 Photography

TPAN 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 Photography

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

TPAN 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 Photography

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

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

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

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