‘‘These photos, beautifully printed, move from the overwhelming majesty of nature to the intimate moments of human life. ’’
–Clarion Foreword Reviews

‘‘…well-curated images intriguingly reroute our way of seeing Yosemite’s beauty’’
–Kirkus Reviews


Published by A Thousand Words Press
Author: Jonas Kulikauskas
Editor: Ann Lucke
ISBN: 978-0-9973951-9-8
Library of Congress Control Number: 2016920279
168 pages
139 black and white photographs (duotones)
20,000 words (approx.)
11″ tall by 12″ wide
paper: 150gsm
Retail Price: $55.00
Release date: August, 2017

More than a book of photos, Yosemite People includes essays, interviews, and memories from people such as:

See excerpts below from these and other contributors who have a deep connection to Yosemite National Park. This book stands as a testament to the continuing contribution of the National Park Service on its 100th Anniversary and to the people who love Yosemite.

Housekeeping Camp


I had next to no social life that summer,

and this was directly related to the fact that I was working nights in a low prestige job. Even though employment was temporary at the Yosemite Park and Curry Company, status among one’s fellow collegians came from such considerations as were you or were you not cool, did you bring a car with you to the Valley, what college were you attending, and what job did you currently hold in Yosemite. The high prestige jobs included hotel clerk, transportation clerk, bellman, or front desk at either the Ahwahnee or Yosemite Lodge, or in one instance—the most prestigious job of all—assistant bartender in the Mountain Room at Yosemite Lodge…

Yosemite Memories by Kevin Starr, California State Librarian Emeritus, historian
Starr warmly recalls working his way through college in Yosemite from 1959-61


JK: Why do you stay in Yosemite?

PJ: I stay because this is the land of the ancestors. And ancestors were already here thousands of years before the Gold Rush had ever occurred.

Excerpt from interview with Phillip Johnson, Ranger, Cultural Demonstrator


SJ: The real world is not New York City, it’s not
Los Angeles. . . . This is not any city made by human hands. The real world is wilderness.

Excerpt from interview with Shelton Johnson, Ranger, Buffalo Soldier Specialist


…my afternoons were spent running all over the woods, as in Pocahantas and then singing until a bird landed on my fingertip, as in Snow White.

(Newsflash: Don’t do that, don’t touch animals, don’t feed them, or I’ll come to your house and murder you.) Growing up here was magical. Like in the trite way that childhoods can be magical. There is something about the combination of wilderness, California, pine trees, campfires, sandy river beaches, clear cascading water, woodland forts, and gift store candy, that made Yosemite the best place in the world to be a kid.

Excerpt from Saying Goodbye to Home by Orlando Soria
Soria, raised in Yosemite, writes about his decision to leave the park.

horizontal_rule_1000I was fortunate to get a job as a part-time ski instructor at Badger Pass. It was my dream job, skiing every winter day and getting paid for it!

Excerpt from Nic Fiore by Charles Carter, Badger Pass Ski School instructor
Carter pays homage to a career at Badger Pass alongside his mentor, Nic Fiore



There is no end to the beauty here and no limit to the scale of it.

David and I watch a coyote devour a deer beside the river. Aaron and I ride our bikes to the El Cap meadow in the middle of the day. Walking home from work, we see the tips of the cliffs turn gold as the sun sets, the last light rich and enflamed—and all mine, fully witnessed, fully noted.

Excerpt from Gold Stars by Jessica Kennedy, Writer
Kennedy reflects on a first year spent in Yosemite


A man who had spent his entire life on horseback, Ross was not going to replace his silver belly hat with a helmet, not to save his life or his job. So we headed farther west to Yosemite…

Excerpt from Five Dogs in Tow by Lynne and Ross Knox, Mule Packers
Knox writes on work, life, and leaving Arizona for Yosemite


…using a skin from the park as opposed to one acquired from a taxidermist is much more powerful. It creates a “slug in the gut,” realizing that this death could have been prevented by simply following the rules.

Excerpt from Goin’ on a Bear Walk with Ranger Ben by Ben Cunningham-Summerfield, Ranger, Cultural Demonstrator
Cunningham-Summerfield tells the story of Tank, a bear he had to euthanize


Mr. Adams, as we called him, was a friendly, gracious, and funny man. If you happened to be behind him on the Park roads, you would drive at a snail’s pace. He was always looking for the perfect lighting for the perfect picture.

Excerpt from Caretakers of His World by Ruth Ann Canterbury Adams
Adams reflects on her time as a nurse at Yosemite’s Medical Center in 1959


In fact, my legs were crushed in several places, and there was no way I was going to be able to walk out on my own.

I found out later I also had a broken fibula, three cracked ribs, a punctured lung, and a severely fractured spine. Part of the top of L4 in my spine had broken off entirely, L3 was shifted half off the side, and the alignment between the two was twisted by ninety degrees. Tom made me as comfortable as he could and then ran for help. Neither of us had cell phones at the time. “Hey,” I said, as he turned to go. “Be careful. The last thing we need is for you to sprain an ankle.”


He set off, and I was alone.

Excerpt from Yosemite Rescue by Theresa Ho, Yosemite area resident since 2003
Ho recounts being airlifted to safety by Yosemite Search and Rescue

horizontal_rule_1000JR: I tell the employees this goes for any job in the world. Ninety percent of a job is showing up on time [pounding on table].

Excerpt from interview with J. R. Gehres, Yosemite Stables Manager


…a small bunch of drunks checked in around 4am next door to my tent. They were very happy and giggly. I was not.

Sadly, a baby woke up, and it meant that I had an hour less rest before hitting the trail at 4:50 am. It was very dark, and my headlamp revealed just how foggy it was. There’s a shuttle bus to the trailhead, but they only start operating at 7 am, so I was on my own walking up the bike path/fire road to the Mist Trail. It wasn’t long before I saw another headlamp: a photographer checking his gear, which consisted of a huge telescopic lens, tripod, and kit. It looked burdensome, and I was grateful to be traveling light with my compact 35 mm camera.

Excerpt from Half Dome by Jonas Kulikauskas, Photographer, Yosemite People
Kulikauskas describes the all day affair hiking up Half Dome for the first time

horizontal_rule_1000JK: Are there any standout moments over all these years since you’ve been to Yosemite?

SV: Well. One. I went to church when the Queen Elizabeth was here.

Excerpt from interview with Stanley Valim, Gardner


Yosemite People was published by A Thousand Words Press with overwhelming support through a Kickstarter campaign found here.

Yosemite People has also been supported in part by a Samsung Faculty Enrichment Grant from ArtCenter College of Design.


  1. I think you have caught the essence of the community at Yosemite. I hope to acquire your recorded book when it is completed.

  2. It’s been years since I’ve been to Yosemite but looking at these photographs and reading about you’re experience left me in awe. The beauty behind Yosemite is definitely one of the most spectacular places you can experience. I would love to go back to Yosemite. By the way, we met at Taos Pueblo, while you were purchasing some freshly squeezed watermelon juice! Thank you for stopping by and letting me see through you’re camera! Come back and document the Taos Pueblo People. I’m sure many people around the world would be interested in learning more about our heritage and culture.

    1. Jerome!
      Your note made my day. I remember you for sure. I was honored to be able to visit Taos Pueblos with my vintage 8×10 camera and, with luck, will have some images to share in the coming weeks. Your community has a rich heritage…there is much for others to learn from! 1,000 Thanks, Jonas

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