If you happened to have read the NY Times last Wednesday, you might be familiar with Jason Bell. If you managed to push through the crowds in front of Thomas Pink’s Madison Avenue store last Thursday evening, you'd better be familiar with Jason Bell. And if you plan to enter a bookstore in the near future, you’re sure to see the name. With An Englishman in New York making its American debut last week (the book has been available across the pond for several months alongside an exhibit of Bell’s work at London’s National Portrait Gallery), the British-born photographer has now cemented a place in the minds, and on the coffee tables, of art-appreciating Americans nationwide.
Left: Jason Bell; Right: An Englishman in New York
I'm personally familiar with Mr. Bell via the cover shoots we've produced together, a favorite of which was the Fall 2010 cover of Boston Common with Rebecca Hall (a British beauty, natch). Jason brings to set a calm, controlled, inviting demeanor, and when I saw him last Thursday at the book's launch party, he was greeting clients, colleagues, subjects, and fans with the same disposition. The soiree was held at Thomas Pink, an appropriately British brand, and party guests included LVMH CEO Mark Weber, Eleven Madison Park Manager Robert Kihlstrom, Author and Vanity Fair Contributing Editor Vicky Ward, and Pianist Michael Feinstein.
Jason Bell autographs a book for contributor Jonathan Spottiswoode, musician and artist; image: Michael Ross
“I went for a walk in Central Park with Sting, and for a cup of tea on Kate Winslet’s roof terrace, sat on Zoë Heller’s stoop and watched Stephen Daldry bicycle down 8th Avenue,” Bell said. “I was given a private tour of both the Metropolitan Museum and the Barneys’ shop windows. I started with a blank canvas and was amazed by the number of Englishmen and women who have made such a large impact on the cultural life of the city. And amidst all the questions about why people had come here and what they had left behind, I learnt a little bit more about what it means to be English, what it means to be a New Yorker, and where the two intersect.”
Sting, An Englishman in New York
Kate Winslet, An Englishman in New York
Hamish Bowles, An Englishman in New York
He has one American convinced: When it comes to celebrating the men and women of their country, me thinks the Brits do it better.
The Fashion Spot's Editor-at-Large, Julie Bensman, is also the Entertainment Editor for Niche Media, whose titles include Gotham, Hamptons, Ocean Drive and LA Confidential. Closed Set is a collection of her musings on all things fashion, from an editor’s desk to your desktop.