by Jonas Kulikauskas
According to the National Park Service, Yosemite has more than 4 million annual visitors supported by thousands of local rangers, workers, and volunteers.
This makes Yosemite a shifting metropolis.
I was inspired to explore this “city” and bring my street photography to the wilderness. I wanted to offer an unexpected perspective on this World Heritage Site and preserve a moment in American history.
I shot 150 rolls of black and white film during nineteen visits to the Park from January 2014 through May 2016. I defined Yosemite People as anyone within the formal boundaries of the Park and limited myself to this area without special access or privileges. For the most part, my approach is to remain invisible, shooting life as I see it through a fixed 50mm lens.
To maximize experiencing a breadth of people, I stayed in a wide variety of public places: Yosemite Lodge by the Falls, the canvas tents of Curry Village, the historic Wawona and Ahwahnee hotels. I woke to the sounds of rangers chasing a bear at Housekeeping Camp, and slept in the back of my pick up truck at Upper Pines Camp Ground. In the summer I drove up to the remote Hetch Hetchy Valley, spent sunny days on the white sands at Tenaya Lake, and hiked 8miles to Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp. I gave my best to capture it all: the crowds clamoring to catch the perfect shot at Tunnel View, couples kissing at Glacier Point, and families cooling off in Tenaya Creek. I also tried things out of my comfort zone: Horseback riding to Mirror Lake, tram tours around Mariposa Grove, and skiing at Badger Pass. To truly immerse myself in the project, I hiked the 17-mile loop and pulled myself up 600 feet of steel cables to the summit of Half Dome.
This project was supported in part from a Samsung Faculty Enrichment Grant from ArtCenter College of Design.
2016 marks the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service and the Yosemite People book honors this fact with a carefully edited selection of 100 photographs with a collection of essays, interviews, and stories from amazing Yosemite People I met along the way.
Ann Lucke, Editor Managing Editor (former), J Paul Getty Trust. Managing Editor (former) Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Carol McCusker, PhD Curator of Photography, Harn Museum.
McCusker’s essay speaks to the quality of the photographs and puts the project into historical context.
Kevin Starr, PhD Author, Historian, California State Librarian Emeritus.
Starr reflects on working his way through college in the summers of 1959-61.
Shelton Johnson, Ranger, Buffalo Soldier Specialist, featured on Ken Burn’s documentary, America’s Best Idea.
Interview: 22 year Yosemite veteran shares candid thoughts on contemporary park culture.
Phillip Johnson Ranger, Cultural Demonstrator.
Interview: Johnson offers his perspective and ancestral heritage as Yosemite’s first people.
Ben Cunningham-Summerfield, Park Ranger, Cultural Demonstrator.
Ranger Ben tells the story of Tank, a bear he was forced to euthanize.
Theresa Ho, Long-term Yosemite resident.
A hike goes wrong. Ho recounts breaking her back only to be airlifted out by the Yosemite Search and Rescue Team.
Orlando Soria, Interior Designer.
Raised in Yosemite, son of the dentist, Soria shares his difficult life decision to leave the valley.
Jessica Kennedy, Writer.
Straight out of school, this North Carolina native offers impressions of her first year living in Yosemite.
Lynne and Ross Knox, Mule Packers.
This husband and wife team left Arizona to work together, packing mules and leading teams at Yosemite Stables.
J.R. Gehres, Manager, Curry Village Stables and Mountain Manager at Badger Pass.
Interview: This confirmed cowboy and wrangler offers a glimpse of what life working at Yosemite Stables looks like.
Chuck Carter, Manager, Badger Pass Ski School.
Carter shines a light on his mentor, Nic Fiore, the French Canadian who kick-started the ski culture at Badger Pass.
Ruth Ann Canterbury Adams, Nurse (former).
Canterbury Adams shares insights into life as a nurse at Yosemite Medical Clinic in 1959.
Stanley Valim, Groundskeeper, Wawona Hotel.
Interview: Valim gives up his 3 best things to do in Yosemite and recalls chance encounters with movie stars and the Queen of England.
Jonas Kulikauskas, Photographer, Yosemite People.Kulikauskas describes his day of hiking up Half Dome for the first time.
- Yosemite People by Jonas Kulikauskas
- ISBN-13: 978-0-9973951-4-3
- 156 pages
- Hard cover with 100 black and white photographs
(offset lithography duotone plates)
- Premium 150gsm paper stock
- 14 essays, interviews, and stories
- Film: Kodak TMAX 400
- Camera: Leica M6
- Lens: 50mm, 2.2 Sumicron
- Silver gelatin print editions on Ilford fiber, heavy weight, gloss paper
Risks and challenges
Setting Expectations around printing and shipping
The biggest challenge is reconciling initial start-up production costs to publish a quality fine art photography book–that’s the purpose of this crowd source fund raising effort!
To maintain Quality control of the books I’m using award-winning photography book printers in Lithuania who have strong references and samples. I have tested this printer through other book projects with great results. To further ensure a smooth process I am hiring an independent production artist to team with the printer for the best reproduction quality possible. I also plan on being present for a press check to sign-off on the final wet proofs.
As with anything else, items can be held up at shipping stations and/or customs. To combat shipping will be divided between air and land to minimize risk.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)