November Cover Artist Ashley McKee

Ashley McKee comes from a long line of Montana blood. She is a fifth generation Montanan. She has spent most of her life, 28 years, in Missoula, Montana. “Life here is not real. That’s what’s so great about it,” she said. “It’s the friendliest, most convenient place on Earth and I love the people that make up Missoula. I like the lifestyle here. It’s just not like the rest of the world. You can be whoever you want to be in Missoula.” Ashley started Missoula Rabble when she was challenged to take a photo a day by her coworker. Ashley was asked why she started to interview and profile random strangers in Missoula. “I like the average American and their stories,” she said. “ We all have a story to tell. We all come from somewhere. This gave me the opportunity to share that with other people with my photography.”

Ashley was asked if she has received anything personally from this project. “To be able to have done this project means the world to me,” Ashley said. She was asked why. “This project has shown me how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learned in the past couple of years,” she said. “I can see myself in many of the people I’ve interviewed. I’ve had a struggle with alcohol for most of my adult life. I’ve been sober for two years now. After cleaning up my life, I’m the person I’ve wanted to always be. And I’m doing what I love.” Ashley was asked what she plans to do now. “I love it here which is probably the best time for me to go,” she said. “I’ve gone through mostly everything in my life here. I don’t really have a plan other than I want to experience more. I want to grow. I just want to be uncomfortable for a little while.”

Ashley McKee studied photojournalism and received her BFA from the University of Montana in 2008. She is a freelance photographer and has had her photographs and writing published in Montana Quarterly, Distinctly Montana, Common Ground, Native News, The Oklahoman, The Missoulian, The Corridor, and Montana Journalism Review. Ashley will be a featured speaker at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in April. Missoula Rabble is Ashley’s first book and is sold at local Missoula bookstores and her website.