Guest Host Alums
(Names from K-O)
These bio statements are as-written at the time of the guest host takeover, so keep in mind that people's information and accomplishments will change over time. You're reading a time capsule from when their takeover was published on LA River X.
Kimberly Holtyn (2019)
Kimberly Holtyn grew up in Buffalo, NY. She’s been surrounded by and drawn to bodies of water most of her life. Buffalo sits on the edge of the easternmost portion of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes and it is there that Lake Erie empties into the great Niagara River, which flows over the famous Niagara Falls and then continues on to empty into Lake Ontario, another of the Great Lakes. Kim recalls a childhood filled with family trips to the beaches of Lake Erie and the majestic Niagara Falls. A move to California in 1985 brought Kim to the Los Angeles River. The many bridges crossing it, the cement bank and bottom and central trough fascinated her. There were glimmers of her childhood water memories, but this was so much larger! And where was the mud, and the flora and fauna? This curiosity stayed with Kim for decades, and in 2019 she returned to LA to shoot the LA River, realizing now was a key time to document the river, capturing it before revitalization changes it forever. She spent 6 days walking and biking along the Glendale Narrows, and south to the Broadway and Spring St bridges, documenting this hybrid of natural and constructed space.
Her LA River X takeover shows the river from the perspective of "an outsider looking in”.
Kyle Gerner (2022)
Kyle Gerner is a conservation photographer based in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Northeast LA. After moving to Los Angeles in 2021, Kyle Gerner devoted countless hours to photographing birds at the LA River. His gaze quickly trained on the juxtaposition of wildlife and human activity and this is the enduring theme of his photography. The LA River is 51 miles of high contrast. It holds up a mirror to the City, reflecting back the consequences - both good and bad - of decisions made by organizations, by various branches of government, and by individuals. Kyle Gerner’s insightful photography began with serendipity and has continued with steadfast devotion.
His LA River X takeover attests to the abundant birdlife that relies upon the ecosystem services of the Los Angeles River.
Lane Barden (2021)
Lane Barden’s architectural photography has been published nationally and internationally in publications including Architectural Record, Architecture and Culture, L’Architecture D’Aujourd’Hui, and ACTAR. His work is held in the collections of the Getty Research Institute at the Getty Center, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and numerous private collections. Lane has taught at SCI-Arc and the Art Center College of Design and holds an M.F.A. from the University of New Mexico. With river connections stretching back to the early 1990s (including an important exhibition about the river at the Los Angeles Central Library), it was teaching a design studio and creative photography classes at SCI-Arc that prompted Lane to create the now-iconic photo series Linear City. Linear City is a collection of 131 low-altitude oblique aerial photographs of linear infrastructure in Los Angeles. His three sites: Wilshire Blvd, the Alameda Corridor, and the Los Angeles River. Shooting from a low-flying helicopter traversing the length of the river in the summer of 2004, Lane would capture the complexity, linearity, and scale of the River in a way that no-one else has, before or since. It’s little wonder that Linear City was published in a much-coveted (now out-of-print) anthology, that it was acquired by the Getty Research Institute, and that Lane still receives requests for publishing rights from designers and academics in the U.S. and Europe. Lane’s contribution to visualizing the LA River - and helping people to understand it as a complex, linear, and arterial presence in our landscape - is unparalleled.
His LA River X takeover was the first time that the full collection of river images from Linear City have been exhibited online, with a new cropping of each image by the photographer to preserve as much of the sweep and line of the original works within the Instagram frame.
Lars Bunch (2020)
Lars Jagatai Bunch has been a photographer for 40 years. He has shot eclectic portraits for magazines, interior designs for books, and architectural shots for advertising. He shoots both film and digital, depending on the needs of the project. While most of the works you'll see this week were shot digitally, he has also been seen lugging large format cameras from 4x5 to 8x10 into the Los Angeles River. His previous long term personal project was a look at the abstract shapes and forms of the Colorado Street and 134 Freeway Bridges as they pass over the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena, CA. He is interested primarily in the graphic design qualities of architecture, often making images where the subject becomes lost behind stark, black and white compositions.
His LA River X takeover provides a thoughtful, beautiful, monochromatic treatment of the LA River
Lars has not joined the Western Water Archives.
Follow Lars on Instagram.
Las Fotos Project (2021)
Las Fotos Project is an organization with a powerful and transformative social mission.: to elevate the voices of teenage girls & gender-expansive youth from communities of color through photography and mentoring, empowering them to channel their creativity for the benefit of themselves, their community, and future careers. Their 2019 Flow exhibition was the culmination of a six-week program which saw teen photographers at Las Fotos Project exploring water and Los Angeles. Water is one of the biggest environmental (in)justice issues of our time. Water has profound spiritual significance. Which is unsurprising, given that its availability is literally a matter of life and death. It is the most valuable commodity and yet most of us think little about its provenance or the prospects of its scarce availability to meet our disproportionately greedy thirst for water.
Their LA River X takeover featured teen photographers Andrea Popoca, Celeste Umaña, Maria Romero, and Xochitl Cruz.
Las Fotos Project has not joined the Western Water Archives.
Follow Las Fotos Project on Instagram.
Laura Vena (2021)
Laura Vena is a writer, teacher, translator, artist, animal activist, editor, and curator whose work has appeared in Bombay Gin, Super Arrow, Tarpaulin Sky, In Posse Review, The Dirty Fabulous, Antennae and elsewhere. She is the winner of the 1913 Press First Book Prize by John Keene for her book, ‘x/she: stardraped’. Laura holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Critical Studies from CalArts, is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Two If By Sea Press, a Fiction Editor at Entropy Magazine and Founder and Creative Director of Blockhead Brigade, a pitbull advocacy organization. She also serves on the Project Advisory Group for The People's Archive, and LA River X collaborative initiative.
Her LA River X takeover features the lower Los Angeles River, and its sibling, the San Gabriel.
Lawrence Tai (2019)
Lawrence Tai is a details guy. A first-generation Taiwanese-American, born and raised in Los Angeles, Lawrence pays the closest attention to two of his most avid interests: food and photography. For almost a decade his signature Liège waffles have been keeping Hollywood happy, with Dr Drew, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kristin Bell, Beck, and the entire Westworld cast and crew embracing the signature yeasty, buttery, caramelized flavors of this Belgian delicacy. It’s little wonder they’re so good – Lawrence spent three months and gained almost twenty pounds meticulously perfecting his recipe. Lawrence first discovered the Los Angeles River in movies and eventually explored it from behind the viewfinders of his vintage camera collection – including a 1950s West German Rolleiflex 2.8 D, a Polaroid SX-70 and a Pentax Spotmatic F from the 1970s, an East German Pentacon Six TL, and a Canon New F1. Photographing the river, he’s come to know it as a vein that runs through the heart of Los Angeles, touching on everything the city is. He’s thankful to have explored the river while it’s still a mysterious place, disappointed that he missed his chance to photograph the iconic Sixth Street Bridge, and as excited as a child on Christmas morning each time a package arrives with freshly-developed photos from his slow and attentive film photography process.
His LA River X takeover features the river, photographed in monochrome on film.
Marco Introini (2019)
Marco Introini is an accomplished documentary photo maker of landscape and architecture, Marco is a lecturer of Architecture Photography and Representation at the Polytechnic in Milan. He has been featured in the Venice Architecture Biennale and is lauded as one of the decade’s twenty most influential architecture photographers. His architectural documentation spans the Middle Ages to Modernism, and has featured in an extensive collection of books and exhibitions. In 2016 and 2017, Marco traveled to Los Angeles to explore our inimitable river.
His LA River X takeover shared enthralling images from the entire length of the Los Angeles River
Marco has not joined the Western Water Archives.
Follow Marco on Instagram.
Margaret Gallagher (2019)
Margaret Gallagher is an artist and certified California naturalist based in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, a short walk from the Los Angeles River. Her detailed ink-and-watercolor illustrations highlight the intimate beauty of California's native ecosystems. Long, quiet walks in LA's often-overlooked wild spaces - Griffith Park, the LA River, and the San Gabriel Mountains - provide inspiration for her exquisite drawings. An aspiring conservation biologist, Margaret volunteers at the Audubon Center at Debs Park doing bird banding and habitat restoration, and with local projects such as the Griffith Park Raptor Study. She tells stories about our ecosystems through art and photos with the hope that fellow city-dwellers will recognize themselves as part of these interconnected webs of being, along with plants, animals, fungi, invertebrates, and microorganisms.
Her LA River X takeover was an intricately beautiful dive into the river's ecology.
Mayor Eric Garcetti's Riverworks Office (2021)
LA Riverworks, was the specialized interdepartmental team that City of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s tasked with revitalizing the Los Angeles River. They are now situated in the City's Bureau of Engineering.
Their LA River X takeover showcased various city initiatives and recalled the important contributions of several river identities.
Mayor Eric Garcetti's Riverworks Office has not joined the Western Water Archives.
Follow LA Riverworks on Instagram.
Meredith McKenzie and her horse Lobo (2020)
"I first saw the LA River in 1981 when I was dating my future husband. We were driving north on Colfax Avenue in Studio City and as we crossed over the ‘channel’, I asked him what that was. An LA Native, he said, ‘Oh, that’s the LA River.’ ‘Really?’ I replied. ‘It looks like it is trying to get out of its coffin.’ (side note – my late husband was the ONLY person who called the ‘flood control channel’ the LA River until I met Lewis MacAdams in 2009. My passion for the LA River developed in 2008, when I was a Program Manager for the Arroyo Seco Foundation. I began writing a blog, arroyolover, discoursing on our urban rivers and the life around them. I was also an adjunct professor of urban and regional planning at Cal Poly Pomona. Over a 7-year period, my students created ‘plans’ for redevelopment and non-motor mobility, a watershed learning master plan, and a re-imagination of the River-adjacent Old LA Jail. In 2019 I consulted to the Cal Poly Design Team creating a master plan for the Burbank/Glendale Rancho. I was a charter member of the Los Angeles River EPA Federal Partnership, an inter-agency cooperation initiative. More importantly, I just love exploring the LA River – first on foot, then by kayak, and most recently on horseback, especially in the ‘rancho’ areas adjacent to Griffith Park and Atwater Village. I am very concerned about ‘over urbanization’ and ‘real estate development’ that seems to have gotten out of control and is a big departure of the original Los Angeles River Master Plan (yes, there is such a document). These days, I enjoy the River mostly on the back of my faithful steed, Lobo."
Her LA River X takeover gives an equestrian view of the Los Angeles River.
Michelle Robinson (2022)
Michelle Robinson maintains a personal studio practice as well as an illustrious three-decade career in animation. Her work at Walt Disney Animation Studios has included being Character Look Development Supervisor on Ralph Breaks the Internet, and on the Oscar-winning films, Frozen and Zootoiai. Speaking of Oscar-winning, Michelle was Head of Characters on Encanto. She’s a mentor at Disney and an instructor at CalArts and Texas A&M University. She’s exhibited at the Walker Art Center, the Dallas Museum of Art, Imagina in Monaco, the AFI National Video Festival, the Sharon Arts Center, the Brand Library, the Dairy Center for the Art, and Cecelia Coker Bell Gallery. The Hand, Diffusion of Light, and Precog Magazine have all published Michelle’s work.
Her LA River X takeover features a breathtaking selection of river artworks.
Michelle's takeover is being ingested into the Western Water Archives.
Follow Michelle on Instagram.
Miguel Rodriguez (2021)
Miguel Rodriguez is a Venezuelan-born visual artist who is based in Los Angeles. Using still and time-lapse photography, the underlying theme of his work is the search for the unseen patterns and constant transformation hidden in plain sight. With a Bachelors degree in communications, Miguel works as a commercial artist for the entertainment and advertising industries, and while his career has taken him to Miami, New York, Detroit, Latin America, and Spain, his curiosity invariably takes him down to the Los Angeles River.
His LA River X takeover incorporates documentary photography, timelapse and music to immerse viewers in an LA River experience.
Mike Hain (2019)
Mike Hain was born in Los Angeles and has lived in Los Feliz since 1987. He has been an active volunteer in various community organizations and for over 20 years, Mike has taught emergency preparedness programs. A Board Member of the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council since 2016, Mike was recently appointed to the Griffith Park Advisory Board. He has two children who started at Ivanhoe Elementary School and graduated at Marshall High School. Some of Mike’s interests are hiking in Griffith Park, woodworking, cycling, camping and photography, especially the Los Angeles River. He is a newly inducted member of the Los Angeles Breakfast Club. Mike’s extensive community volunteering includes neighborhood clean-up activities, particularly the @folar Great L.A. River Clean-Up every Spring. Mike’s commitment to our wonderful community compels him to help make it a safer and better place.
His LA River X takeover shares some of Mike's photos from the Glendale Narrows.
Mike has not joined the Western Water Archives.
Follow Mike on Instagram.
Miles Griffis & Bear Guerra (2023)
Miles W. Griffis is an award-winning LA-based independent journalist who covers the Southwest, health, and queer issues. His work has appeared in High Country News, The New York Times, National Geographic, Outside, Popular Science, Them, Vogue, Wildsam, and many others. Outside of his writing, Miles has worked as a backcountry guide in Colorado, Canada, and Australia. He’s also volunteered as a wildland firefighter. Bear Guerra is a photographer whose work explores the human impact of globalization, development, and social and environmental justice issues, often in communities typically underrepresented in the media. He is also the visuals editor at High Country News - a 50+ year-old, non-profit journalism magazine that specializes in thoughtful, nuanced coverage about the western United States. Over the following year (2017-18), Bear and his partner in life and photography Ruxandra Guidi completed another year-long storytelling project - South of Fletcher: Stories from the Bowtie - about a coveted post-industrial site along the Los Angeles River. The project was a collaboration with LA-based arts organization, Clockshop.
Their LA River X takeover features images and stories from a three-month long reporting assignment for High Country News by Miles Griffis, coupled with photography by Bear Guerra that culminated in the 2021 article, ‘The Los Angeles River’s overlooked anglers’.
Myles Pettengill (2019)
Myles Standish Pettengill III is a professional photographer specializing in music, arts and entertainment portraiture. He was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Germantown Friends School before moving to complete a dual degree in Psychology and English Cultural Studies at McGill University in Montreal. On moving to Los Angeles in 2007 he quickly found the Los Angeles River landscape whilst on an adventurous bike ride and thus organically began his fascination with life along the river. He shoots this project mostly with his beloved Ricoh GR point-and-shoot camera, and the project keeps his eye honest and curiosity piqued. His work testifies to there always being a story down by the river, every single time.
His LA River X takeover shares a selection from 10+ years of river stories that he's unearthed and preserved as a documentary photographer and river lover.
Myles has not joined the Western Water Archives.
Follow Myles on Instagram.
Nir Yaniv (2022)
Born and raised in Israel, Nir Yaniv's first river glimpse was the helicopter chase scene in the movie Blue Thunder. Now, Nir lives in Los Angeles where one of his many activities is photographing the river, creating enticing, rich, evocative monochrome images. He is a musician, editor, short film director, and author, with side helpings of photography, illustration, and animation.
His LA River X takeover showcased the river in monochrome.
Nir's takeover is being ingested into the Western Water Archives.
Omar Haq (2021)
Omar Haq grew up in Pakistan, went to college in Ohio, and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film. His first moment seeing the river was from a plane. From there the river was "this giant line carved into the ground that seemed to go on forever." Omar freelances in the film, tv, and media industry working on documentaries, commercials, and VFX. He’s learned that it’s important to invest in your own passions. As he says, “if you dropped them along the river of life, it’s easy to pick it back up downstream”. The pandemic prompted Omar to pick up his long-neglected hobby of photography. Omar sees influences of the entire world summarized within Los Angeles
His LA River X takeover shows the river as Omar sees it: expansive, unexpected, mysterious, intimate, and vast.
Omar has not joined the Western Water Archives.
Follow Omar on Instagram.