... (from Greek διασπορά, "scattering, dispersion") a scattered population with a common origin

in a smaller geographic area. Diaspora can also refer to the movement of the population from

its original homeland.

Once upon a time, when I was an awkward teen with terrible bangs, a sparkly purse, and a Tool t-shirt, I took a photo class at Maine East. 

"Brandi Martin was my teacher. She was everything all of my other teachers were not: Accessible. Real. Honest. Relatable. She treated us like we were people already. (We weren't yet. Not really.) fast forward to now: thanks to social media, we reconnected a few years ago and she is the big sister I never had. Facebook can be a really beautiful thing that way.

One day in class, she was teaching us all how to adjust the enlargers and said "If you turn the knob this way, it will unscrew and this whole very expensive piece will come crashing down..." She looked up with a dramatic pause, met each of our eyes to make sure we were looking at her and paying attention. "...do not turn the knob this way." She raised her eyebrows at us and paused again, let it sink in, and it did. Do not turn the goddamn knob this way, people. I would not. Ever. "Turn it this way instead. You will feel it make these very satisfying little clicks."

It was a 20 second snippet of my life 13 years ago, and I remember that exchange. The exaggerated way she paused and made sure we were watching, the "satisfying little clicks" was the perfect description of what we were supposed to feel for. As a parent, I have employed that strategy many many times. The quiet. The big pause. The opposite of shouting, but so, so much more effective.

That's a little piece of Brandi that I carry into the world with me. It's a little piece of my teacher that my kids go into the world having experienced. There are over 9000 of us that spent a semester or an entire 4 years with her. Some of us became artists or photographers, but the vast majority of us did not. Yet we still carry these little pieces of her, of all of our teachers, out in the world with us.

So where are they now? What are they doing? There are 9000 pieces of Brandi making art, raising children, making sandwiches, nursing sick people, building roads, building stock portfolios. They are standing in waiting rooms, sitting in church, yelling in traffic, resting in an urn, laying on a beach.

Please consider funding this incredible art project, building a portrait of these pieces who have been scattered around the world over the last two decades." -Candice Devinney, 2014

Many of my alumni contributed footage and for to the video featured in my successful Kickstarter to fund this project.