I always knew that one day I would take this road, but yesterday I did not know today would be the day.

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Kristie McLean is sincerely dedicated to the mission of raising global awareness around social issues through her writing, photography, and conversations. She does not travel as merely a tourist with the mindset of taking pictures or souvenirs but rather creates experiences and compelling images through collaborative partnerships and positive interactions. Consequently it is very easy for her subjects to trust her and to share their stories. Kristie has a heart for service and a deep empathy for the suffering and pain of others. However, she also maintains a sense of optimism and works hard to portray progress and success with every difficult situation.


I was so impressed with Kristie’s talent and teamwork that I have reached out to her to lead trips for our organization. She embodies both the skills of articulating her creative vision and following it though with tenacity and grace. She also demonstrates the additional component so critical to the SalaamGarage mission: engaging one’s communities and networks through ongoing conversations, social media, and active involvement.


Kristie’s broad global network and her passion for building relationships and advocacy bring out the best in breadth and depth to any creative project she chooses. Through her efforts, important stories are heard.


Amanda Koster
Founder, SalaamGarage

Kristie McLean is a committed and talented photographer, writer, and digital storyteller whose passion truly is to share stories of the world that often go unnoticed. Her significant world travels have taken her around the planet to profile issues of access to clean water in Africa, Unexploded Ordnances in Laos, underage marriage in Afghanistan and India, women’s reproductive health, and threatened indigenous cultures and landscapes. She has a powerful voice, especially for women and youth, and actively seeks out projects that empower and educate. Much of her success comes from her ability to put a face on a social issue and make the experience real, and convicting, for her audience. Her portraits can haunt or inspire.


I had the privilege of traveling with Kristie to South Africa on a Bridges to Understanding digital storytelling workshop and was able to watch first-hand her interactions with the South African teens and other members of our team. Kristie consistently brings forth insightful and compelling images, easily builds trust with others, freely shares her knowledge and gifts, and grows and maintains deep relationships. The short film “Expecting the Good” that she helped create with the youth at Hector Peterson School highlighted the issue of teenage pregnancy and was showcased at McCaw Hall in Seattle during the 2008 Seeds of Compassion week with his Holiness the Dalai Lama.


The thing that impressed me was her ability to see past the stereotypes, the clichés, and her own preconceived ideas to deliver a powerful story. I know that she will continue to succeed, engage, and make great positive impact wherever she goes.


Phil Borges
Social Documentary Photographer

Kristie is a good friend and an amazing artist. She travels the world to photograph the
inner human spirit in all its variations. What a mission!

James Redfield
Author of The Celestine Prophecy
Los Angeles

I have come to know Kristie as a creative and dedicated photographer who is fully engaged in every project she has done with our organization.

She has traveled with us internationally to photograph our programs and the people we work with. The results have been outstanding and the process is always a pleasure.

Prior to working with us she took the time to understand our organization and prior to each shoot she has gained a thorough understanding of our needs for the particular shoot. This preparation gave her a terrific ability to suggest shots and ‘messaging’ that we hadn’t considered and that met our shoot objectives more effectively.

Kristie has a passion for other cultures and their peoples. This adds a unique and valuable integrity to her work. When she’s shooting, Kristie engages with the people she photographs with great sensitivity. She quickly and easily puts them at ease. (It’s a delight to watch her in action.) The results are photos that have amazing life and capture the heart and soul of her subjects.

I love her work. She is the first person I call when we need a photographer here and especially overseas.

Theresa Schulz-Norris, Founder
Women’s Enterprises International
Seattle, Washington

Kristie has created and directed photographic exhibits for IIPT’s two most recent global summits on Peace through Tourism in Europe and Asia. Both the “Women of the World” and “Sacred Connections” exhibits provided a strong visual medium to help raise awareness of the connectedness of our global family to one another – and to our common home, planet earth.

The exhibits gave insight and meaning to the summit goals of promoting mutual respect and understanding, international cooperation, healing wounds of conflict, fostering sustainable community development, and measures to alleviate poverty.

Kristie is committed to using her photography to create bridges and reconciliation and to connect with others as an ambassador for peace. Kristie is a valued – and valuable -partner with IIPT. Her presence and images provide impact, hope, and strong convictions for positive change.

Louis D’Amore
Founder and President
International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT)
Stowe, Vermont

Photography is not beauty, but it can tell the beauty regardless of the subject. I've had the privilege of sharing with Kristie some unforgettable moments in Afghanistan. One of the most significant images burned in my mind is Kristie holding the camera with both eyes opened, looking for beauty, smelling the world, feeling the misery and the greatness of mankind.

There is a millisecond when the shutter is closed: the photographer is totally blind to what is happening around him. Kristie has a phenomenal skill: she never closes off behind the camera, she always shares the stage, she is a part of the pictures she makes, not just the director.

Kristie shares the moment with the subject, she perceives all the feeling a place can inspire, the smells, the sense of greatness and loneliness and dignity, the beauty that blooms and vanishes.

Kristie looks for beauty and tells the beauty. And she never closes the eyes.

Saverio Serravezza
Terni, Italy