Set in the Street with Justin Bettman

First, a little background.  I met Justin many years ago on a youth trip in the middle of our high school years.  He moved to New York after attending school in Southern California and began to work for an ad agency.  It's been fascinating to follow his growth as a professional photographer.

A few weeks ago he reached out on Facebook asking for help with the latest installation of his ongoing "Set in the Street" series.  He began the series in New York City with Gozde Eker and the series was picked up by New York Magazine.

While he was home for the holidays, Justin, my girlfriend Emma and I set out to scout a location in the Mission District of San Francisco.  Justin determined that the intersection of 18th St. and Valencia would suit his sidewalk set perfectly.  The sidewalk had to be wide enough to construct the set and leave room for foot traffic, had to have a fence for hanging a backdrop and could not be blocked by parked cars.  

At 5:45am on the morning after Christmas, we arrived at the location as eager to set the scene as kids with presents on Christmas morning.  Justin had gathered the props, found on Craigslist, from all over the Bay Area.  He brough a small couch, a Christmas tree, an end table, a carpet, wrapped presents, curtains and a lamp.  Slowly the help started trickling in.  The models, the makeup artist, and later even Justin's parents showed up.  

At around 7:30am the shoot was in full swing and the following ensued-