How A 17 Year Old Humanizes Homelessness Through Photos

Leah Benbok

Expressing the stories of the homeless through art has been a labour of love for Leah Denbok.

Now, the 17-year-old shutterbug has been rewarded for her efforts as this year’s winner of the Murray J. Clerkson Award, presented by the Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts (BMFA).

The Clerkson Award supports excellence by local emerging artists. The winner receives a cash prize of $1,000. This year there were 21 applicants, which were narrowed down to five finalists. Two years ago Denbok, a Collingwood native, was the runner-up for the award.

“As I need money for college, I was hopeful about winning the award. My dad -- knowing how disappointed I was when I didn’t win it last time -- kept cautioning me to not get my hopes up too high,” says Denbok.