In Motion: Justin Bettman

Justin Bettman’s project Set in the Street brings a bit of magic into every day lives of New Yorkers. Using unwanted materials and furniture, Bettman constructs elaborate sets on the streets of New York City. After photographing the tableau, Bettman leaves the sets up for passersby to shoot their own photographs.

Bettman’s still images from Set in the Street pull back just enough to show the environment outside of the set’s parameters, including graffitied walls, bridges, busy streets, and run-down back lots. The stills are compelling in their own right—quirky and theatrically staged. Bettman brings one particular tableau to life in his short film Prom Night. The camera remains fixed on the set where an uncomfortable couple sits on a couch dressed in prom attire from a bygone era. After a comically pathetic attempt at making a move on his date, the girl makes a less-than-tactful exit at which point the camera pulls back to reveal the artificiality of the set.

View more of Bettman’s work on his website.

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