By Richard RoachFrom Bathtub to Oil Platform

One late August afternoon on a dock in Long Island sound, we were completing the cleanup ckecks after another successful platform inspection. Surrounded by dive hoses, welding gear, hot water heaters and Divehats and scuba bottles, a young boy on a scooter, maybe 7-8, walking with his grandma stops and asks inquisitively: What is all this stuff for?. Scuba diving - I explain, we just got back from inspecting that oil platform, I point to the horizon. His eyes light up (like he'd just met captain Nemo) as he looks at his granma - "I want to be a scuba diver" he says. Well, I said that's my little borther and he always wanted to be a scuba diver too. Infact he sed to practice in the bathtub at home when we were kids, now look at him. Phil was completing his inspection of the dive equipment and gave the kid a wink. Dream big and keep working hard kid, you can do anything you set your mind towards.

Over one hundred and twenty thousand British men and women live in New York City. Jason Bell, an Englishman himself living in New York, was inspired to look further—An Englishman in New York is the result. The book features taxi drivers, cops, construction workers, divers, helicopter pilots, chefs, burlesque dancers, drug dealers, UN ambassadors, and even dog walkers. Jason was also struck by the significant influence that many Brits exercise on New York's cultural agenda, leading him to include amongst his subjects writer Zoë Heller, director Stephen Daldry, artists Cecily Brown and Bill Jacklin, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Thomas P. Campbell, historian Simon Schama, actress Kate Winslet, and the musician Sting. The book offers an extraordinary insight into the British subculture that forms an intrinsic part of everyday life in New York City. "I went for a walk in Central Park with Sting, for a cup of tea on Kate Winslet's roof terrace, sat on Zoë Heller's stoop, and watched Stephen Daldry cycle down 8th Avenue. I was given a private tour of both the Metropolitan Museum and Barneys' shop windows. 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."—Jason Bell.


Courtesy National Portrait GalleryAn Englishman in New York: Photographs by Jason Bell24 Comments14 August 2010 - 17 April 2011

Inspired by some 120,000 English men and women living in New York City, Jason Bell has identified and photographed leading British born figures setting the cultural agenda in New York, including Thomas P. Campbell, Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, writer Zoë Heller, Nicola Perry, owner of Tea and Sympathy, artist Bill Jacklin, and television pundit and Barney's window dresser Simon Noonan. Jason Bell began this project following a commission on ‘Anglophilia’ for American Vogue. He has lived between New York and London since 2003. Jason Bell graduated in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University in 1989 but had already decided on a career as a portrait photographer. Bell’s work regularly appears in Vanity Fair and Vogue and his film posters include Billy Elliot, About a Boy and Love Actually. He was presented the Royal Photographic Society’s Terence Donovan Award for an outstanding contribution to photography in 2006. His previous books include Gold Rush (2000), Hats Off (2002) and GiveGet (2005).