The Origin Story
By: Katie O'Connor
Story Gorge LLC is based in the Columbia River Gorge and focuses on amplifying worthy stories through video production, still photography and media education. We collaborate to tell compelling stories that evoke empathy and action and empower others to do the same.
Story Gorge seeks to serve the "Triple Bottom Line" This means that in everything we do, there are multiple benefits worked into the job for the client, the community, and the sustainability of our social enterprise. The client receives a high quality finished product while we work to serve worthy causes. Social, environmental and educational responsibility is at the heart of our work. Both our clients and our team can rest assured that the art we collectively create will do more than tell a good story, it will inevitably make the world a better place.
The company was founded by Sean O’Connor, who started his career as a professional photographer in 2001. The first couple of years were spent as a nomadic rock climber, traveling the country to have epic adventures and document them. Sean’s formal education included The National Outdoor Leadership School, Prescott College Adventure Education Program, and The Rocky Mountain School of Photography. Along the way, he began selling adventure-based images to magazines such as Climbing Magazine, Outside Magazine, and High Country News as well as providing services for non profit and commercial clients.
Sean established a studio in Portland, Oregon in 2005, and continued growing his company, then called “Freesolo Photography - Conservation Through Adventure Expeditions”. His publications grew to include Smithsonian and his awards included placing in a National Geographic Adventure photo contest. By 2009 Sean expanded his offerings into video and immediately began filming for clients. Sean’s film accomplishments include honored contributor to a Northwest Regional Emmy Award for his work with Oregon Public Broadcasting and credits in international adventure film festivals.
From 2013-2015 Sean served as the Outreach and Strategic Coordinator for the community programs of The ReBuilding Center in Portland,OR. In that time, Sean developed a community impact film program that worked to secure over $100,000 in grants, and in kind support to build a focus on impact storytelling within the organization. The program hosted over 20 volunteer filmmakers, photographers and other creatives all working together to build community from the neighborhood level.
In Fall 2016, Sean established a new business located in the Columbia River Gorge called “Story Gorge”. Story Gorge exists to strategically tell impact stories and provide extensive media education to youth and adults in the Columbia River Gorge. By January 2018 the business grew and Katie O’Connor joined in the family business. Together they built a company that uses story to produce high-quality films for impact and inspiration. Now in its 3rd year, Story Gorge has educated over 1,000 students and produced stories for organizations large and small.
WHO WE ARE
We are storytellers, adventurers, lovers of the land, community conduits, family members, colleagues and friends.
Director of Photography
Sean is an award-winning visual storyteller, passionate media educator, internationally published photographer and honored contributor to a Northwest Regional Emmy Award. Since 2002 Sean's creative work has been dedicated to creating socially responsible stories and educating students in the art of visual media production. Collaborating with dynamic nonprofits and leading industry brands, Sean works to cultivate global relationships with social and environmental impact. His credits include broadcast television with PBS and affiliates and international film festivals as well as print and web photography publications with Smithsonian Magazine, Outside Magazine, High Country News and others. Sean sits on the judging committee for the James Beard Foundation Media awards.and most recently directed and produced a short film for REI. When not shooting or producing, Sean works with youth and adult learners and creates dynamic and exciting learning environments and has served over 1,000 students. He lives in the Columbia River Gorge with his wife Katie and two children. When not shooting or producing, Sean is in pursuit of wilderness experiences, silent moments, and positive interactions with new faces.
Austyn is our Chief Video Editor. When it comes to finding productivity enhancers, Austyn is the one for the job. He is a master at creating workflow systems and executing challenging editing situations. His experience as a visual storyteller enables him to bring out the most of any story subject while maintaining the attentions of the audience. His even keeled and thoughtful disposition combined with his deep understanding of editing systems makes him and excellent teacher as well.
Austyn is an honored veteran of the United States Navy where he served for 4 years
Whenever we have a project, Jeff is one of the first people we call. His attention to detail and ability to complete complex tasks shines through in his work. Jeff is a fine art, professional photographer specializing in documenting recreational/adventure pursuits, portraiture in natural settings, nature, and conservation photography.
His art captures a story in time where there’s energy, excitement, passion and life, the spirit beyond a single moment, the essence of great photography. Jeff’s photographs are recognized for their mastery of perspective, composition and color. His current passion is to live a creative and adventurous lifestyle behind the camera while bringing the world new and engaging photos to encourage and inspire an active lifestyle, living life fully in the world around us. Jeff lives with his wife and son and adorable dog in Portland, Oregon.
Who we work with
Clients / Publications / Awards / Sponsors
Kyle is a filmmaker, photographer, and musician, and through all of these, a storyteller. He believes in the unequivocal power of story to connect people to themselves, each other and the planet we all call home. Since receiving his BFA in Digital Media Production from The Art Institute of Portland in 2008, Kyle has spent countless hours on productions ranging from run-and-gun reality shows to full-scale hollywood films in a variety of rolls. He has worked on the productions ‘Grimm,’ ‘Portlandia,’ ‘Leverage,’ ‘Little People Big World,’ and ‘Gone,’ among others. This experience gives him the ability to see the 10,000 foot view of any story, and the technical know-how to dive in and get it done. He was co-founder and Head of Production for the boutique production company Quarter Orange, producing videos for OMSI, Lewis and Clark College and Stand for Children - Oregon. Kyle has recently returned to his childhood stomping grounds after a five year stint freelancing in San Francisco, CA. When not building community through story, Kyle likes to spend his time in nature, cooking with friends, and creating moments of mindfulness in pursuit of a slow culture.
Kyle J. Glenn
Elizabeth is an involved Gorge resident with a passion for the arts, organization, and working with children. Before moving to Oregon in 2006, Elizabeth graduated from San Jose State University with a B.A. in Radio, Television & Film. Elizabeth began her career as a Production Assistant in the Bay Area working for NBC and on the film Drifting Elegant. A Gorge Tradition of Compassion Award Finalist, she has worked extensively with Safe Kids Columbia Gorge, is a Hood River Fire Department volunteer, and a certified child passenger safety instructor for the State of Oregon. Elizabeth has also participated as a set designer and prop master with local theater productions, including The Odd Couple and The Foreigner. In her spare time she is a mother of three, event organizer, and bikes around our beautiful area whenever possible.
Katie is an orchestrator and story gatherer. If you work with Story Gorge, you will no doubt have the pleasure of working with Katie at some point. Katie's unique blend of left-brained scientist, compassionate heart, and lover of the natural world brings depth to cultivating our client's stories. Katie holds a B.S. in Environmental Science and a Master's degree in water Resources, Policy and Management. Katie has over 10 years of professional experience in facilitating collaboration and developing communication strategies for technical science topics. This paired with her project management training and experience makes her a strong link to clients and collaborators at Story Gorge. When not holding down the foundations at work, Katie is an avid gardener and flower grower. She is a rock star mother to her two children and loves exploring the wilds of the Pacific Northwest.
Sean is a White Salmon, Wa. local with a true knack for safely maneuvering drones in a variety of situations. Sean is an FAA licensed drone pilot and has a keen eye for artistic composition and advanced flying skills. When not exploring the bird's eye view, Sean spends much of his time in the garden cultivating food and trees as well as extensive trips to remote and quiet locations in wild spaces.
Who we work with
With Projects Funded By
In School Arts Integration
Film Production Credits
Other Education Partners
Awards and Judging
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Contact us with booking inquiries or give us a call at 503-839-6100!