www.marcleclef.com
© 2018 Marc Ohrem-Leclef


Zameen Asmaan Ka Farq
(formerly Jugaad / Of Intimacy and Love
)
- working title/s, ongoing -


Zameen Asmaan Ka Farq ('As far apart as the Earth is from the Sky') documents the culture of touch between Indian men who live at the intersections of homosocial culture, friendship and love through photographs and texts.

Since 2017 I have collaborated with individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and identi-ties to make photographic portraits and record conversations (to date over 120, in twelve languages) across these territories:
West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh.

Featured in British Journal of Photography by Diane Smyth, the work was awarded 'Juror's Pick' in LensCulture's Art Photography Awards, and won the 2018 Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography.

Please email me for access to a more comprehensive selection of the work.


Assistants:
Sohel Khondekar, Mubeen Siddiqui, Jaideep Kshirsagar, Rohan Mathews, Deepesh Meher, Avadhoot Potdar.

Transcription/Translation Team:
Chikirsha Prakash, Daksh Goyal, Chakshu Sharma, Deb Sanyal, Ankit Andurlekar, Niranjan Nampoothiri, Sreyartha Krishna, J. Mandakini, Sraiyanti Haricharan, Vaishnavi Suresh, Shivakumar Lanka, Bindu B..
 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_moleclef-moleclef-moleclef-3112-01clarkhouse-final-flat.jpg
Goal and Chandan stopped on their bike commute.
Sahibganj, Jharkhand - 2017


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ9016.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
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Archival Pigment Print, 21x17 in., Archival Inkjet Print, 8.5x11in.

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF alt_ IMAGE 4 FRIENDS CHOTU AND RAJAN LEAVING THE TEMPLE_ JHARKHAND 2017.jpg
Friends Chotu and Rajan leaving the temple.
Jharkhand - 2017


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ8948.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_moleclef-moleclef-moleclef-3127-14clarkhouse-final-flat.jpg
Yash drying his Gamchha in the breeze, after his morning bath and worship.
Jharkhand - 2017


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ8953.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_moleclef-moleclef-moleclef-3111-05clarkhouse-final-flat.jpg
Day laborers in Sahebganj.
Jharkhand - 2017


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ8946.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.


Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_moleclef-moleclef-moleclef-3114-05clarkhouse-final-flat.jpg
Gaurab and Ravi asked for a selfie near the Ganges.
Jharkhand 2017


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-419764_BASTAR2_B6_05_v2.jpg
Yash took me on an early morning walk around the village. I asked him to take me where he meets his friends in the evenings.
Bastar - 2020


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ8968.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-419766_VIZAG_C8_11_v2.jpg
Shanti showed me a folder where she keeps articles from which she learned the terms that describe her identity. It holds the documents she signed for her Sexual Reassignment Surgery. She was never able to realize that dream.
Andra Pradesh - 2020


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_SUDHEER WITH HIS MOTHER AND WIFE, VIDYA_ WHEN WE SAT DOWN TO TALK ABOUT SUDHEERS JOURNEY, VIDYA ANNOUNCED I KNOW EVERYTHING, WE CAN TALK ABOUT ANYTHING_ MAHARASHTRA 2018-2.jpg
Sudheer with his mother and wife, Vidya. When we sat down to talk about Sudheer's journey, Vidya announced: 'I know everything, we can talk about anything'.
Maharashtra - 2018


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__MOL0475-2.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-MARC OHREM-LECLEF 17 IMTIYAJ AND RAVSAHEB SPOKE OF THEIR SEXUALITY, FAMILY BONDS AND WHAT FUTURES THEY ENVISION_ MAHARASHTRA 2018.jpg
We sat in the fields near the Krishna River. Imtiyaj and Ravsaheb spoke of their sexuality, family bonds and the futures they envision.
Maharashtra - 2018


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-419762_SANGLI_C9_14.jpg
I like to pass by the Krishna River early in the morning.
Karnataka - 2020


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ8994.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-08-15.jpg
Suresh and I sat in Cubbon Park in the cruising area near the Parade Grounds.
Karnataka - 2019


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 1 A CINEMA HALL WHERE MEN COME TO CRUISE FOR ‘FUN’ WITH OTHER MEN_ I HAD A LONG CONVERSATION WITH A MAN WHO ASKED ME TO NAME HIM ‘AMIT’_ MUMBAI 2019.jpg
A cinema hall in Mumbai where men come to cruise for 'fun' with other men. I had a long conversation with a man who asked me to name him 'Amit'.
Mumbai - 2018


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__MOL0466-2.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
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Archival Pigment Print, 21x17 in., Archival Inkjet Print, 8.5x11in.

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 11 ARJUN SPOKE TO ME ABOUT THE LOSS OF AFFECTION WHEN HE MOVED TO CHICAGO FOR HIS STUDIES, AND THE LOSS OF FREEDOM WHEN HE MOVED BACK TO HIS PARENTS’ HOME IN BANGALORE_ 2019.jpg
Arjun recounted the loss of affection when he moved to Chicago for his studies, and the loss of freedom when he moved back to his parents' home in Bangalore.
Karnataka - 2018


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_marcohrem-leclef-1.jpg
Aniket paced nervously for a while when I reached his room.
New Delhi, 2017


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ8940.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-419758_MUMBAI_C6_04.jpg
Rahil posed in front of Chaitanya, Roshan and Deep. In the last minute, Mumbai Police denied permission for the 2020 Gay Pride March along the ocean, leaving the community to gather and represent in the dusty, fenced-in Azaad Maidan.
Mumbai - 2020


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-419768_HYDENABAD_B11_14_v2.jpg
Patruni Chindananda Sastry above the clouds.
Telangana - 2020


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ9015.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-419768_HYDENABAD_C8_03.jpg
Hoshang recounted how in his youth he was badly beaten up one night in San Francisco. ‘That night I realized’ he said ‘that only through education I would stay alive. And so I began to study, instead of cruising every night.’ Telangana - 2020



Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-419762_SANGLI_C3_10.jpg
Our room in Sangli. The manager of Hotel Great Maratha angrily accused me of making porn films. I had briefly met my queer friends in the lobby the evening before.
Maharashtra - 2020


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_moleclef-moleclef-moleclef-7572-13clarkhouse-final-flat.jpg
Irfan came to the hotel after Friday prayer.
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh - 2017


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ8980.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 9 AKHTAR WAS EAGER FOR US TO MEET HIS BEST FRIEND DILSHAAD IN HIS BARBER SHOP_ PUNJAB 2018.jpg
Akthar was eager for us to meet his best friend Dilshaad, in his barber shop. Punjab - 2017


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ9045-2.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-MOLeclef_IMG_7481.jpg













Archival Pigment Print, 21x17 in., Archival Inkjet Print, 8.5x11in.

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 12 MUNEESH IN HIS FISHING VILLAGE NEAR RAMESWARAM_ TAMIL NADU 2019.jpg
Muneesh in his fishing village near Rameswaram.
Tamil Nadu - 2019


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ9079-2.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 10 AFTER A TWO HOUR TREK WE ARRIVED IN SANJAYS VILLAGE IN THE FOOTHILLS OF THE HIMALAYAS_ UTTARAKHAND 2017.jpg
After a two hour trek, we arrived in Sanjay's village in the foothills of the Himalayas. #1
Uttarakhand - 2017


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-26610004.jpg
Ravsaheb works in a group that suppports male sex workers in a small town.
Maharashtra - 2018


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ8962-2.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-419766_VIZAG_B5_03.jpg
Bharath and Sukshand, Naguru Government School on Graduation Day.
Bastar - 2020


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-419761_RAJAMUNDHRY_C7_15.jpg
Yedukondalu and Prasad on the old railroad bridge that crosses the Godavari River and the small fisherman's island they live on.
Andhra Pradesh - 2020


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ9091-Edit.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 7 GANESH WANTED TO MAKE A PORTRAIT, AND MR_ SOLOMON INSISTED ON GIVING ‘A POSE’_  TAMIL NADU 2019.jpg
Ganesh asked to make a portrait, and Mr. Solomon insisted on giving a 'pose'.
Tamil Nadu - 2019


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-405949-21-16.jpg
Rajnesh and Dheemana were on their way home from a party when they stopped their rickshaw at the chai shop. I had been warned the crowd would become ‘rough’ in the evenings.
Karnataka - 2018


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ9040-2.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 19 BHAIRAV IN THE TIGHT, SHARED QUARTERS WHERE HE AND HIS FELLOW RICE PADDY WORKERS SLEEP OVERNIGHT DURING HARVEST_ PUNJAB 2017.jpg
Bhairav in the shared quarters where he and his fellow rice paddy workers sleep overnight during harvest.
Punjab - 2017


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 2 WE WOKE UP BEFORE SUNRISE TO VISIT THE WORKERS STAYING NEAR THE RICE MARKET DURING HARVEST_ BHAIRAV WAS WAKING UP, HOLDING TAHIR IN HIS LAP_ PUNJAB 2018.jpg
We woke up before sunrise to visit the workers staying near the rice market during harvest. Bahirav was waking up, holding Tahir in his lap.
Punjab - 2017


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ9075-2.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 3 A CLASS PHOTO NEAR SRI CHAMUNDESWARI DEVI TEMPLE_ KARNATAKA 2018.jpg
A class photo, near Chamundeswari Devi Temple.
Karnataka - 2018


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-419759_BASTAR_B12_09.jpg
Siddarth in his fathers shop. A hijra interrupted us, begging for a tip. After they received a dontaion they blessed the shop and winked at Siddarth.
Chhattisgarh - 2020


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-419764_BASTAR2_C1_13.jpg
There were no roads, but on bikes we traveled two hours through thick jungle to meet the Dhurwa tribe. I tried to ask the women about the importance of touch between men and women. Eventually they agreed:

With a man, love could not be expressed through touch: "Impossible!"

Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__MOL0470-2.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 21 SAFEE RENTS A ROOM AWAY FROM HOME WHERE THEY CAN DRESS AS A WOMAN_ ON RARE OCCASIONS THEY WILL GO TO A PRIVATE PARTY DRESSED_ KARNATAKA 2019.jpg
Safee rents a room away from home where they can dress as a woman. On rare occasion they will go to a private party dressed.
Karnataka - 2018


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 20 SALEEM SPOKE OF THE DEEP CULTURAL DISCONNECT HE SEES BETWEEN OLDER AND YOUNGER GENERATIONS OF QUEER INDIANS_ UTTAR PRADESH 2017.jpg
Saleem spoke of the deep cultural disconnect he sees between older and younger generations of queer Indians.
Lucknow - 2017


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ9088-2.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 18 DEEP INTO THE NIGHT, AJMAL AND I WAITED TOGETHER FOR THE TRAIN TO CHENNAI_ TAMIL NADU 2019.jpg
Deep into the night, Ajmal and I waited together for our train to Chennai.
Tamil Nadu - 2019


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 15 KARTIK AND I MET REPEATEDLY AS HE MANEUVERED BETWEEN MEETINGS TO HELP ORGANIZE LUCKNOW’S FIRST GAY PRIDE MARCH AND DEALING WITH COMING OUT TO HIS EXTENDED FAMILY_  UTTAR PRADESH 2017.jpg
Kartik and I met repeatedly as he maneuvered between meetings to help organize Lucknow's first Gay Pride march and dealing with coming out to his extended family.
Uttar Pradesh - 2017


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ9070-2.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 5 RAJEEV AND ARUN, WITH AMMA_ TAMIL NADU 2019.jpg
Rajeev and Arun, with Amma looking on.
Tamil Nadu - 2019


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__MOL0473-2.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-IMG_7498.jpg













Archival Pigment Print, 21x17 in., Archival Inkjet Print, 8.5x11in.

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-84290013.jpg
Secret Warriors. Uttarakhand - 2018


Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 4 ANMOLS SON IN LAW WAS BUSY TAKING SELFIES  AFTER THEIR WORSHIP AT THE TEMPLE_ RAJASTHAN 2018.jpg
Anmol's son in law was busy taking selfies after their worship at the temple.
Rajasthan - 2018


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52__ETJ8959.jpg
Excerpt from an informal interview, audio-recorded.



Archival Inkjet Print

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-419764_BASTAR2_C11_12.jpg
Alina was nervous - she had just left the hospital where her friend passed away earlier that morning. But she wanted a record of the moment so we made a portrait.
Chhattisgarh - 2020


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-419764_BASTAR2_C7_13.jpg
After hours of long, exhausting conversations -or attempts thereof- with tribals deep in the forests of Bastar, I walked around Gudiya Village.


Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-Towns, Villages, Hamlets visited 2017-2020-03-2-4.jpg
Cities, Villages and Hamlets where I have worked since 2017.


(West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh)

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_Jugaad-Studio-Shot-Ksenia_IMG_1029_v2.jpg
Akhtar was eager for us to meet his best friend Dilshaad in his barber shop. 30 x 24in.


Archival Pigment Print, 12x17 in., Archival Inkjet Print, 8.5x11in.

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_img0763-2.jpg
Samples of transcriptions and translations of 120+ informal interviews.
 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-419768_HYDENABAD_B9_16.jpg