July 5, 2017 Edition

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Ashley George photographs
2017 Miss Arkansas pageant

Walnut Ridge photographer Ashley George (right) photographed the recently crowned 2017 Miss Arkansas Maggie Benton (left) during the pageants in Little Rock earlier this month.

Aubree Hughart
TD Intern

Local photographer Ashley George has been in the photography business for nearly 13 years. Her local business, Creative Touch Photography, captures everything from weddings to families to sporting events.

George began taking photos and discovering her passion for photography as a Walnut Ridge High School art student in Mrs. Ginger Bibb's class. She opened her own business in August of 2004.

Recently, George has worked her way up through connections in the pageant industry and has had the opportunity to photograph numerous pageants in the Miss America pageant system.

George began taking photos at pageants in 2007 when local former beauty queens Hollyann Crum and Shaylee Lawhon competed in the Miss Arkansas and Miss Arkansas' Outstanding Teen Pageants, respectively.

"I started out covering the pageants for The Times Dispatch and The Jonesboro Sun," said George. "Through watching and photographing Hollyann and Shaylee, I made connections with others in the pageant system."

Eventually, George met Mrs. Marrietta Jerome, the Northeast Pageant Association director. From that connection, George became the official photographer for their pageants: Miss Northeast Arkansas, Miss Northeast Arkansas' Outstanding Teen, Miss River Delta, Miss River Delta's Outstanding Teen, Miss Lights of the Delta and Miss Lights of the Delta's Outstanding Teen.

She is also the photographer for Miss White River, Miss White River's Outstanding Teen, Miss Batesville, Miss Batesville's Outstanding Teen, Miss Greater Jonesboro, Miss Greater Jonesboro's Outstanding Teen, Miss Arkansas Delta and Miss Arkansas Delta's Outstanding Teen. Each of the pageants is a preliminary competition for the Miss Arkansas and Miss Arkansas' Outstanding Teen pageants.

For the past two years, George has also served as the social media coordinator for Miss Arkansas' Outstanding Teen. She also photographs the Miss Arkansas Golf Classic, an annual fundraiser for Miss Arkansas scholarships.

George has photographed Miss Arkansas contestants volunteering and touring Arkansas Children's Hospital. She also takes photos for Miss Arkansas sponsors such as designer Tony Bowls and pageant clothing provider Applause of Little Rock.

George's favorite thing about her job is that everyday there is something new. She believes the opportunities are endless. "I have done to places and experienced things I only dreamed of through my job," said George.

Milestone opportunities in George's career include going to the Miss America pageant three times, photographing the AutoZone Liberty Bowl for the past three years, and shooting a Razorback football game.

"My job has given me the chance to meet so many people and see things that would have not been possible without my profession," said George. She is grateful for the people who supported her when she began taking pictures at her alma mater and who have helped her climb the ladder ever since.

At this point, George is very happy with her career and her growing business, and plans to continue to expand Creative Touch Photography and experience and photograph new things.

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