In the midst of a busy Harlem street an itinerant photographer snaps a portrait of a well-dressed family standing rigidly at attention (lower left). A burst of light from the camera's flash locates the photographer, who is otherwise hidden under a black cloth. The street is a whirlwind of activity: businessmen striding with briefcases; laborers carting laundry, garbage, and household goods; truckers; and a street repair crew. This painting is one of thirty that Lawrence made between 1942 and 1943 on the theme of everyday life in Harlem that he called "observations of the human condition." It was originally owned by the Social Realist painter and photographer, Ben Shahn, who, like Lawrence, exhibited at Edith Halpert's Downtown Gallery in New York.