Student Spotlight: Dearna Bond of To Her Core

Student Spotlight: Dearna Bond of To Her Core—An interview by Rhonda Mason for LIFE:CAPTURED

| Interview by Ronnie |

This is our interview series where we check in on past students who have either attended one of our workshop events or taken part in one of our online masterclasses. Today we’re chatting to Dearna Bond of To Her Core to find out a bit more about her work and what she got out of attending our signature workshop in April last year.

Can you tell us a bit about you and your family?
I live in Hobart, Tasmania, with my partner Brett and our fur child Maggie. We live in an old weatherboard cottage which has been in Brett’s family since the 1950s. We recently (late last year) renovated the cottage to better accommodate our needs—it was a dark, cold space previously and quite closed in, with a kitchen the size of a shoebox. We opened up the back part of the house so that the kitchen is now bright, open, and warm. As a cook and food photographer, I spend a lot of time in there, and we also like entertaining, so this was important to us.

You have some lovely recipes on your blog. How did you get started as a food blogger?
Thank you! I have always loved cooking, I grew up in an Italian household where cooking and eating were central to our daily lives and how we spent time together. I think this is what started my love of cooking (and eating!), and I wanted to start documenting my recipes both as a way to have them recorded for myself and also to share them with other people—a food blog was the obvious solution! When I first started I had no idea about food photography—I bought an entry level DSLR that I used to leave exclusively in automatic mode. Later I finally decided to take the plunge and teach myself how to properly use the camera, and I now love the styling and photography component as much as I enjoy cooking the dish in the first place. I find the whole process to be really relaxing and therapeutic—it’s my favorite way to spend the day when I have a few hours free.

Student Spotlight: Dearna Bond of To Her Core—An interview by Rhonda Mason for LIFE:CAPTURED

You also co-host food photography & styling workshops with Rebecca Wiggins. What have been some of the highlights for you?
I have really enjoyed hosting our workshops—it’s been so lovely to connect with so many like-minded people and share our love of food photography and styling. For me, the highlights have definitely been hearing positive feedback and seeing the progress and enthusiasm from the participants in the weeks that follow. Knowing that people are getting something out of the workshops and finding them beneficial has made it all worth it.

Describe a typical day for you.
I normally get up around 6.30am on weekdays and usually do some form of exercise—a yoga class, a walk, or just some gentle stretching at home. I think this is a great way to start the day and centre myself before all the busyness starts. I then get ready for work and arrive a bit after 8am, and work through from 5pm to 5.30pm. I usually try to squeeze in a gym class during my lunch break to break up the day, or I might go for a walk or get some groceries to save me competing with the crowds in the post-work rush hour. After work I like to spend a bit of time playing with Maggie and catching up on the day with Brett before cooking and sitting down to dinner together. I’ll then spend an hour or two responding to emails, editing photos, and writing up recipes or blog posts. Otherwise, we might watch a movie or go out for a bite to eat. I usually try to do most of my shooting on the weekends or every second Friday which I have off work. We also try to go for a bushwalk at least once or twice a month, and I try to catch up with friends on the weekends too.

Student Spotlight: Dearna Bond of To Her Core—An interview by Rhonda Mason for LIFE:CAPTURED

Why were you initially interested in attending our signature workshop?
I have become increasingly interested in visual storytelling—capturing a story through photography—and it’s something I would love to build on. I also like the idea of piecing this together with narrative to create a physical album or photo book. It’s such a great idea for a keepsake. I was also interested in learning more about Adobe InDesign as it’s something I’m yet to have much experience in.

What were the main highlights of the signature workshop for you?
It was such a lovely day overall. I felt very welcomed, and I loved being able to spend an entire day learning and creating. As I normally photograph food in my own home, it was nice to be able to photograph something different and in a different space. The photo organising session was amazing—I was so impressed by how Ronnie organised her photos! I often need to find particular types of photos for marketing and promotional work, and this idea of using keyword tags would definitely make the process a lot easier. It’s definitely something I will be implementing myself.

Did the workshop change the way you approach memory keeping?
Not in my current stage of family life (it's just my partner and me), but I would definitely embrace some of the ideas if or when I have children and for special occasions such as holidays.

What were the three most useful things that you learnt at our signature workshop?
The first was definitely how to organise images in Lightroom and use keywords to tag the images—I think this is going to revolutionise the way I store my photos. It was also useful to learn how to edit a template using InDesign. I find InDesign really overwhelming, so it was good to have an overview—I just need to put the time in to hone my skills a little more.

Looking ahead, what are the stories that you want to document and preserve?
I really like the idea of making a holiday photo book—there are always so many beautiful images and funny, happy stories that arise from a holiday, and it would be great to document and capture them. I also love the idea of capturing our families' history, especially our recipes—they aren’t documented anywhere, so it would be great to be able to compile them all together for future generations.

Thank you for your time, Dearna. If you wish to find out more about Dearna’s work, you can visit To Her Core or The Island Gatherings, and you also follow Dearna on Instagram.

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