By Lanier Laney
Before I even moved to the Lowcountry, I had seen Eric Horan’s work. His strikingly beautiful iconic photographs of the Lowcountry have appeared in national publications such as National Geographic, Coastal Living, Time, Outside, Fortune and The New York Times, to name just a few. This prestigious exposure gave many a first glimpse of the incredible natural beauty and wildlife that ultimately helped lead a lot of us to move here.
Eric followed a similar path. Having been born in Michigan and raised out West as an avid outdoorsman, he realized in high school that he wanted to be a professional photographer and got his commercial photography degree from Colorado Green Mountain College. His first job was with the Colorado Fish Games and Parks Department as a student assistant to the wildlife photographer, and this experience led to a life-long interest in wildlife photography.
He began photographing up and down the East Coast in the early 90’s. Along with being attracted to the remarkable natural beauty here, Eric thought Beaufort County was a more central location to other coastal shooting destinations. It also proved to be a good place to meet the love of his life, wife Jan, whom he married in Hilton Head in 1994. They moved to Beaufort in 1996 with their children Elliot and Anna.
Says Eric, “ ‘Beautiful Beaufort by the Sea’ is not just marketing. The natural beauty is incredible here and the climate is easy. We feel closer to the water in this community than we did living on Hilton Head. Maybe it’s the easier access to the water, along with the history and culture in and around the area that contributes to our quality of life.”
Jan agrees, adding, “Beaufort had more of a small town community lifestyle more suitable for raising our family than Hilton Head, a tourist destination.”
Jan has worked independently in various forms of the arts and education, as a freelance writer and as a fiber
artist in her early career. She has also continued her education in journalism and mass communications and has assisted area businesses with grant writing, advertising, marketing and press. She’s helped run Eric’s successful photography business since the 90’s.
Says Eric, “We joke that we haven’t had to ‘sell the tickets.’ In our early courting, we purchased tickets to a Bob Dylan concert about three months in advance, saying something like, if we don’t like each other by then, we can always sell the tickets. That was 19 years ago and we’re still working side by side in our small office space behind our home, and still married after all these years!”
Together they own and operate a Wildlife Photography Tour Company where Eric leads outdoor Wildlife Photo Safaris in his boat for photographers of all ages and experience throughout the coastal salt water marshes, beaches and bays of the Lowcountry.
“It’s truly a unique experience and rare to have someone of Eric’s caliber teaching you his inside photography tips,” said one satisfied Photo Safari guest.
Jan and Eric also run Eric Horan Photography where Eric does commercial photography for the resort market. This can be anything from aerial shots to tabletop food, lifestyles, scenic views, wildlife and architecture.
Says Eric, “I work with corporate clients to come up with new exciting imagery for their brand to support their marketing strategy. I do portrait photography both for business and personal use and specialize in location shooting. Our priority is to not only meet the client’s needs, but hopefully provide more than they were expecting.”
He also sells stock photography to top stock agencies in Europe and New York. These images include active people outdoors, nature, wildlife and destination travel. Jan helps sell Eric’s fine art prints through their website and several galleries in the Lowcountry. They also produce a calendar that has won seven national awards and they did a book of Eric’s work called “Carolina Nature, A Photographer’s View of the Natural World of the Carolinas” which sold out (and is now a collector’s item if you were lucky enough to buy the first printing).
“We chuckle that photography is often viewed as a glamorous job but there is a lot of dirt, sweat, weather, stress, problem solving and physical demands, (not to mention dealing with the tides!) that come with the success of being an outdoor photographer,” said Eric.
He has contributed his work to many local fundraising efforts with groups that focus on the Lowcountry’s environment like the Open Land Trust, Port Royal Sound Foundation, the Coastal Discovery Museum and the Spring Island Institute. Plus he is a frequent guest speaker at area camera clubs and Audubon group meetings.
His photos were even included in Outside Magazine’s “Best Photographs Published in 15 Years.”
You can see and purchase his amazing work at The Filling Station Gallery in Bluffton and Walterboro Artisan’s center. He also recently joined the Beaufort Arts Association gallery downtown on Bay Street.
To see his work online or to book a fun Photo Safari, go to www.horanphoto.com.