Emily Nathan Finds Casual Grace for Ritz Carlton
The Ritz Carlton name is synonymous with luxury and grace. Emily Nathan is synonymous with exploration and intimate moments. When they came together for a shoot highlighting the environment around Ritz Carlton’s Dove Mountain Resort, they wanted to find what both of these style share. They started with the styling. Sarah Cobb found dresses that were paired with minimal accessories, minimal hair and makeup, and finished barefoot, to keep everything gorgeous but casual. “We were just trying to let the desert take the lead,” Emily explains. “It was a pretty beautiful park in the desert there. A beautiful area, populated by those huge saguaro cacti, like from a cartoon.”
Emily’s style involves a lot of planning, but once everyone is on set, she likes to let things unfold naturally. By doing that, and encouraging a relaxed and exploratory rhythm, real moments are able to unfold and present themselves. When the model saw the vintage car, one of those moments presented itself. “The owner of the car, who had like 30 vintage cars outside of Phoenix, was driving on the dirt road,” Emily explains. “But the model really wanted to drive, even though she had only driven once or something. But if a stunning model asks a guy if she can drive his car he says, 'Yes.' So he let her drive.” The car and the model survived, but it’s times like these that make a shoot rich with authentic experiences and emotions.
For those who don’t know, Emily Nathan is also the mind behind Tiny Atlas Quarterly. Tiny Atlas is something of a traveling lifestyle online magazine. Collections of stories and submissions from allover the world illustrate lives in every corner of the globe. Tiny Atlas has brought Emily to American Deserts and snowy mountains and everywhere in between. Usually, it’s just her and her camera, her models, and maybe a few others along for the ride. This myriad of experiences has helped Emily become a master of run and gun situations. She tells us how Tiny Atlas has helped her in shooting situations like venturing into the desert for Ritz Carlton. “I’ve learned to just be comfortable and flexible in all scenarios, and be comfortable leading a team down a dirt road where I’m not sure what the picture is. How important it is to be confident that you can take great pictures and to have a great team, and just know it’s going to be okay. You don’t have to know exactly what’s going to happen.” That sense of exploration creates fertile ground on which beautiful images can arrive in the camera and not be forced into existence.