Lisa Wilkinson, supported by Canon Australia, presents her first photographic exhibition comprising powerful portraits of ten Australian women who have inspired her and influenced modern Australia. She shares their stories through this series of images that, for her, represent the beauty, strength, diversity and absolute resilience of Australian women. In her own words, Lisa reveals why she is captivated by storytelling through photography and why she chose to photograph 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 for this powerful and personal exhibition.
I know that their unique stories will speak to all Australians, no matter their circumstances.
I have always loved the power of a photograph. 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”.
Being able to experiment with photography is such an exercise in creativity.
Making mistakes and then fixing them, learning what works and the experimentation process in photography is something that I adore. It’s been a privilege to be able to mix that with women who I feel incredibly humble to be around. I loved hearing their stories and what motivates them and what their life is like. The biggest challenge was getting over my nerves and believing that this was happening but I worked with such a great team from Canon who were so generous in their advice.
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.
To discover what their life is like outside of the public eye 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.
I also enjoy – and I think it's a very human thing – to talk to somebody about their vulnerabilities and realised that so often people, especially as women in the public eye, that you have to show a certain strength. Just to talk to these women, under any circumstances, I'll always be up for that. To then get their stories through their eyes in a photograph is magic.
These women to me are perfect because of their differences.
I love that they are so diverse and of different ages, different experiences and different belief systems. I wanted to convey that diversity, and not just in the way they look, but in what they have to offer us. All of them are incredibly humble and were amazed when I contacted them to be a part of this. I'm so thrilled that they were able to trust me. I think all of them had such a strong sense of themselves, but they also have a beautiful humility and honesty about who they are, and I hope that's come through in these photographs.