Laura Haubrich

Eyes on the City 2021: City and Memories

Artist Statement

The People and The Pandemic

In this photo series,  Family Business, it is my dream to better understand and showcase the particular  essentiality  of this café that I frequent as a customer and previous employee during the 2019-2020 Coronavirus pandemic. The massive jump in unemployment from March to April 2020 (about 10%), introduced the new phrase, “essential workers.” Fueled by a desire to highlight and preserve the essential work I witness and got to be a part of, I strove to document a collective and historical memory of this family-owned café in the heart of San Francisco. Since I began this project, a second citywide shutdown resulted in the loss of my two weekend shifts, which motivates me further as an artist/documentarian. My photos are meant to draw attention to a family-owned business, maintained in large part by the three brothers who run the kitchen. 

Around 2,000 (at least) businesses have permanently closed in San Francisco this year, and many of those are “mom and pop” owned businesses, like dear Bean Bag. I wanted to document the changes this business has seen this year (increased online orders, masks, change in hours and protocols) and while doing so I think I got a look into why this café remains resilient through very tough times. What has always confounded me as a person and what I wish to highlight as an artist, is the giant bifurcation of money and business in changing the nature, ambiance, and humanity of a place. Bean Bag Café is a special exception that has withstood change, maintaining its original face in this city. Thus, it is a great subject to explore this theme of essentiality. I am determined to show the people, the hearts, the faces of this place as the ultimate currency, and without this humanity, the soul of the city would be lost. 

Artist Bio

Born and raised in a conservative suburb in San Diego, I dreamed of moving to the city to pursue music, art, and freedom of thought/expression. For the past 8 years I have been working on obtaining my bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, with a minor in Spanish both at the University of San Francisco, and City College of San Francisco. Beyond this certification I am seeking to understand myself fully in a highly complex and technologically-mediated world. It is my dream to better understand my own humanity and the world around me, through artistic and spiritual means. Her passions include piano, photography, painting, writing, and singing. The city is a constant reminder and friend for me to keep my intentions on my dreams and not give up when the path remains unclear. I am still working on finding my creative voice, but the echoes ring deeply within me. I am very pleased to share my first publicly published photo series, Family Business.