Popular Today show host Lisa Wilkinson AM will present powerful portraits of 10 Australian women who have inspired her and influenced modern Australia.

Through a series of images that capture the beauty, strength, diversity and resilience of Australian women, Wilkinson’s Women of Influence exhibition will tell the stories of Asher Keddie, Deborra-Lee Furness, Dame Marie Bashir, Peta Credlin, Turia Pitt, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Cate McGregor, Gretel Packer, Mia Freedman and Dr Susan Carland.

Wilkinson rose to prominence as the editor of Dolly and Cleo before she began her television career, so she has plenty of experience directing photographers, but this will be the first exhibition of her own work behind the camera.

“I have always loved the power of a photograph,” Wilkinson says. “It is quite abstract as an art form and there are kind of no rules. I remember the first moment (in New York) where I looked through the lens and thought: ‘I’ve spent years now telling photographers what I want to see when they go out and shoot for me, so I should have a good idea of what I want to see’.”

For Wilkinson, the exhibition represents the next logical step in her career’s evolution.

“I’ve been so incredibly fortunate throughout my career to be surrounded by amazing women. Sharing their incredible stories through this exhibition in many ways feels a natural extension of everything that I’ve done in my career so far. To be able to capture all of that on film just felt like it made sense,” Wilkinson says.

“To discover what their life is like outside of the public life is an incredible opportunity. I love their honesty, I love their authenticity and I love that the real common denominator amongst all these women is this inner beauty that you can’t manufacture. It’s about being inside themselves and being true to what they believe in and what they’re passionate about. In many ways it’s about not really caring what the rest of the world thinks, because they have these burning beliefs that allow them to live their lives with grace and passion and integrity.

“I loved talking to them, I loved hearing their stories and I loved learning what motivates them.”

Lisa Wilkinson’s Women of Influence exhibition will be on show at Maud Gallery (6 Maud Street, Newstead) from Friday 9 December to Thursday 22 December. Maud Gallery is open from 4pm to 7pm, Wednesday to Friday, and 11am to 4pm on Saturdays.

Admission to the exhibition is free. For more information, visit the event page.