Durham Art Gallery: Comtemporary Canadian Art Home Exhibits About Contact Visiting Support Events

Current Exhibition


  • Leah Denbok

    Leah Denbok

  • Leah Denbok

    Leah Denbok

  • Leah Denbok

    Leah Denbok

Nowhere to Call Home

Leah Denbok

March 25 - May 13, 2018

“I invite you to look into the eyes of the homeless,they tell a story.”

For 17 year old Collingwood student Leah Denbok the camera is an instrument of social change and compassion. Since buying her first camera from a pawnshop when she was just 12, she (with her father, Tim) has traveled throughout southern Ontario, and as far as New York City, connecting with homeless people and capturing them in intensely intimate portraits. This has been a personal quest as her own mother was once a homeless orphan on the streets of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India.

The majority of the black and white photographs in Denbok’s compelling show are close-up portraits with no detail spared. These images of tragic beauty draw attention to the plight of homelessness and appeal to the humanity in people, to their compassion for the less fortunate. In Denbok’s own words, “I realize that changing society's perception of people experiencing homelessness is a huge task. It may take my whole lifetime to accomplish this undertaking. However, I am still a teenager and, hopefully, have my whole life in which to do this.”

Leah Denbok has been taking photographs since she bought herself a used Canon EOS Rebel T2i from a local hockshop in the summer of 2012. Inspired by the work of British photographer Lee Jeffries, she has been concentrating on high-contrast portraiture. One of her photographs was awarded first place in the Blue Mountain Foundation of the Arts Juried Art Show. She was recently the subject of a mini-documenary that aired on CBC’s ‘The National’. Leah is thankful for the mentorship of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore. “Without his encouragement,” she says, “this book would have only been an idea.” Through her photography, Leah wishes to help humanize the homeless and draw attention to their plight. She lives in Collingwood, Ontario, with her parents, Sara and Tim, and her older brother, Daniel.
www.ldenbokphotography.com/