At first glance, a photo from photographer Justin Bettman and stylist Gozde Eker’s series, #SetInTheStreet, looks like a Norman Rockwell idyllic scene from a cozy living room. A couple sits on their retro looking couch, in front of a wood paneled wall, a deer head peeking at them from above their heads. Zoom the photograph out, though, and you’ll see that it is not someone’s living room, but a set in Bushwick, built in front of a colorful graffitied wall.


#SetInTheStreet is an ongoing art project and photo series that begins with Justin finding a centerpiece for a particular “set.” This will be the focal point of the entire set, setting the tone and mood of the scene. The scene above was inspired by a deer head that Justin found in the street on his way to work one day. He tells Flickr, “I knew I really wanted to use it for a shoot, so I actually had to run with this deer head back a mile and a half home. I think people thought I was doing funny performance art,” Justin Bettman

In another scene, a family celebrates Christmas. A loving mother and father look on, as the child sits on the carpet, next to a tree filled with gifts…in the parking lot next to a busy street in San Francisco.

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Justin leaves the set up after each photo shoot so the public can interact with them. He enjoys seeing how people add on or take away from the canvas to create their own form of art. Leaving a sign with the hashtag #setinthestreet, Justin encourages people to create in the space he built from unwanted pieces of furniture and other odds and ends.

I hope this project makes people re-evaluate their perspective of trash. I hope people take away a new perspective from this project and start to realize that sometimes there’s a larger picture that you’re not seeing.

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To see more of Justin Bettmans’ work, check out his website here.

CREDITS: Photographs by Justin Bettman are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.