This past month (September) was one of my favorites with Local Life. Why? Because it was all about photographers and being one myself, it’s nice to get recognized sometimes. When you’re always behind the camera, it’s typically about someone else. Not you. No shame in admitting that.

The September Local Life issue was a spotlight of the “Faces of Photography” around Hilton Head and Bluffton, SC as it pertains to wildlife, nature, and a little bit of lifestyle. Here’s a quick recap of who was featured and their stories:

Eric Horan

Eric Horan is known for “defining the visual record of our region” and it all began with the call of the wild. Since 1981, he’s documented some of the Lowcountry’s most stunning scenes and nature photos.

What sparked his interest in capturing these moments in time? “I was raised outdoors ranching, fishing and hunting and recreating one way or another,” Horan said. Growing up on small ranches in Arizona, Colorado, and Montana, Eric’s upbringing was full of endless starry nights and days of adventure out in the fields.

After earning a degree in commercial art and photography at Colorado Mountain College, he found work as an intern for ailing wildlife photographer Don Dominick at the Colorado Fish, Game & Parks Department. “I was 21 and had Don’s expense account,” Horan remembers. “I was expected to continue his work for as long as it took him to recover from a heart condition.” This included flying in helicopters recording big-horn sheep and mountain-goat movements and joining department biologists for two-week-long horseback camping trips designed to count the elk herds. “This job left me with an appetite for photographing the natural world. I was left with figuring out how to do it,” he said with a laugh.

Eric’s start in the photography world was amazing. One of those once in a lifetime kind of opportunities. And his story only gets better. To learn more about the rest of Eric’s career, visit

Andrew Branning

If you’re looking for Andrew, he’s likely “exploring the Lowcountry in black and white”. The photography bug had caught Andrew when he strode out to an oyster bed six years ago. More than a hobby but less than a calling, his craft was simply missing that one key ingredient. The son of celebrated “Shrimp Collards and Grits” author Pat Branning, Andrew had been shooting food and lifestyle photography to accompany his mother’s work, working with a $300 Best Buy camera, but it wasn’t yet an art for him. However, on that oyster bed on that fateful day, he found Vince.

“Vince embodied something so special. All he did was work, and he had no idea what he represented – something we’re losing in this culture,” he said. “In all of my experiences, the thing I’ve had joy in is putting the spotlight on him.”

Andrew took a few photos of Vince hard at work pulling oysters from the earth, and somewhere in that session the photographic muses found him. “From there I started taking pictures of the working South: shrimp boats — anything that had a lot of patina or told a story.”

Andrew’s story is far from over here, but if we fast forward a bit, he now provides large-format photography of area seafood industry workers for TCL’s Foodseum. To learn more about how Andrew got from Vince to where he is today, read the rest of the story here:

Arno Dimmling

Arno is known for taking great photos for the good of the community that he loves. For some, photography is a passion. For others, it’s an obsession. For Arno Dimmling, it’s a bit of both, but mostly he sees it as an opportunity to give back.

“Everything that I do in terms of photography, whether it’s for a corporate group or for magazines, any proceeds that I make go to nonprofits that I’m passionate about,” he said.

Yes – you read that right. Over the last few years, Dimmling has become a fixture on the Lowcountry event scene, ever-present with camera in hand, working tirelessly to document some of the grandest galas and swinging soirees the island has seen. And in all that time, he hasn’t taken so much as a dime for himself. Instead, the money he makes as a hired shooter or by selling prints of his works goes right back into the community, donated to numerous nonprofits including The Boys & Girls Club and Hospice Care of the Lowcountry. He’ll often just cut out the middleman and have his earnings sent right to a charity.

“I don’t want it to be a job. I want it to be a passion and something to give me a different purpose,” he said.

Can you already tell how amazing of a person Arno is? And we aren’t even to the end of his story – read the rest here:

All images in this September Local Life article were taken by Lisa Staff Photography – a lifestyle, fashion, wedding, and engagement photographer in Hilton Head, SC. To learn more about collaborating with Lisa, click the button below.