When you live in Missoula a long time—or even a little while—you get to know certain faces and names. But how much do you really know about the people who frequent your preferred coffee shop, or your favorite bartender, or the guy who sells jewelry on the street? It takes a lot of guts to go up to someone and actually ask them about their life. But that’s exactly what photographer Ashley Rhian McKee has done for her Missoula Rabble project.
The Missoula Rabble, which you can find on Facebook and Instagram, documents the individuals who make Missoula greater than the sum of its parts. Almost daily, McKee’s posted a beautiful, typically black and white portrait of a random Missoulian and a blurb about their life. The bios are weird and silly and funny and sometimes sad. Recent entries include a man in town to meet his daughter for the first time. And a vibrantly tattooed woman who acknowledges her problems with drug use. And a Butterfly barista who used to play in Knot Knocked Up. And a couple who had just gotten married two hours before. McKee plans to turn Missoula Rabble into a book, to make for something with a little more heft and permanence than a Facebook post. Her Kickstarter campaign, which is more than halfway to the $10,000 goal it needs to make by June 10, intends to publish the Rabble book through the local Milltown Press.
If you’re unfamiliar with Missoula Rabble, you can check out some of the portraits, learn more about the Kickstarter and get rabbled yourself at the reception on May 30 at the ZACC. Who knows, you might learn something surprising about someone you thought you knew.—Kate Whittle