Set in the Street

Tableau Photography Project Making Use of Dumped Furniture and Public Spaces ‘I didn’t want to pay for studio space and I realized that I could just build sets on the sidewalk instead,’ New York photographer Justin Bettman told us. ‘Then I realized, I should just use furniture I found instead of paying to rent it.’ Thus began #SetintheStreet, an ongoing tableau photography project that sees Justin building elaborate sets out of unwanted materials and furniture, most of which have been found in the streets. setinthestreet_justinbettman-3 setinthestreet_justinbettman-4 setinthestreet_justinbettman-9 setinthestreet_justinbettman-10 He then leaves the set in the street for passersby to shoot their own photos and share on Instagram, using the hashtag #SetintheStreet. We asked Justin more about this work: The Plus: How long does it take you to design each set? Justin Bettman: The process is different on every set. Usually I try to go in with a rough idea of what I’m trying to build but the materials I find really indicate what the set will look like. Each set can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months to collect the materials. And the building process on the morning of the shoot usually takes about 2-3 hours. setinthestreet_justinbettman-1 setinthestreet_justinbettman-2 TP: It is quite a participatory project, why did you want to get other people involved in it? JB: It happened naturally. As the first set was being built, people kept asking questions and trying to take pictures in the set. So rather than fighting it, I embraced it. setinthestreet_justinbettman-7 setinthestreet_justinbettman-8 TP: What have people’s reactions to the sets been like? JB: The reactions have been really positive. It’s amazing to see how creative people get when you give them the canvas to do so. setinthestreet_justinbettman-11 setinthestreet_justinbettman-12 TP: What are you working on now/next? JB: I am working on expanding the project overseas. Also, I shot a short film in one of the sets for Tribeca Film Festival so that will some out shortly. setinthestreet_justinbettman-17 Tribeca Film Festival setinthestreet_justinbettman-18 Tribeca Film Festival setinthestreet_justinbettman-15 times square setinthestreet_justinbettman-16 times square