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 5th year, Story Gorge has grown to include a highly qualified staff of Story Producers and Teaching Artists dedicated Impact Storytelling and Media Education. 
 

WHO WE ARE

We are storytellers, adventurers, lovers of the land, community conduits, family members, colleagues and friends.

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Sean O'Connor
Story Producer
Director of Photography
Teaching Artist

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.

Katie O'Connor
Project Manager
Story Producer
Jeff Snyder
Assistant Editor
Photographer
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Kyle J. Glenn
Story Producer
Teaching Artist

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.

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Whit Hassett is a filmmaker, educator, and aerial videographer based in the Pacific Northwest. With a love for wild places and a passion for environmental advocacy and social consciousness, she has contributed her unique aerial and on-the-ground perspectives to a variety of brands and organizations including Patagonia, Yeti, Earthjustice, Nature Conservancy, and Ocean Conservancy. After pursuing an M.S. in ecology and working for conservation organizations, she has shifted focus to film and science communication, focusing on the human stories that tie us to our landscapes. She recently directed and produced the short film, ‘This Land’, which has gone to screen at major outdoor and environmental film festivals worldwide and was awarded a Vimeo Staff Pick and a nomination for Best of the Year. Whit has landed in the gorge after years in Hawaii, New Zealand, Colorado, and the Oregon Coast, where she is looking forward to laying some roots, building community, and working on her sailboat.  She loves to surf, kiteboard, ride bikes, and explore the west coast with friends and community.

Whit Hassett
Story Producer
Teaching Artist
Drone Operator
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Zach comes to Story Gorge with 20 years of Business and Product Management experience. He spent 15 years in the education industry creating software solutions to deliver curriculum content to millions of students. Zach’s desire to “give back” is aligned with the sustainable social enterprise that Story Gorge is building. Together, we are creating the architecture of a company that strives to serve people and the planet. Zach’s focus at Story Gorge is to develop and implement sound processes to help nourish and stimulate the creative story development process. Zach has lived in The Gorge for 14 years. He has two college-aged kids and one in high school. He lives in a tiny home he built and enjoys the wonders of the small paradise where he lives.

Zach Leavitt
Operations Manager

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.

Sean Corwin
Story Producer
Drone Operator
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As Story Producer at Story Gorge, Katie is an orchestrator and story gatherer. She most recently acted as a Producer on “Winter’s Edge”, an REI film, and also wrote an accompanying blog post for them. 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.

Katie O'Connor
Founding Member
Story Producer

Who we work with

With Projects Funded By

Supported By:

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In School Arts Integration

Print Publications

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Film Production Credits

Other Education Partners

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Project Partners/Sponosrs

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Commercial Photography

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Awards and Judging

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PRESS

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CONTACT

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Contact us with booking inquiries or give us a call at 503-839-6100!

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