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 Erath is form the Sky) documents the intersections of homosocial culture, friendship and love between men in India through photographs and texts.

Since 2017 I have collaborated with individuals of wide range of backgrounds and identities in these territories to make photography portraits and record 120+ conversations, in over ten languages: 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 a more access to a 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..
 
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I am not sure why the memory of my encounter with Amir came to me in this moment, sitting on a JetAirways flight to Bangalore, in February 2019.


Amir said hello to me in the gardens in Delhi's Red Fort one afternoon when I was strolling around alone. Neither of us had much to do for the rest of the day. We kept on chatting in the gardens and eventually made our way to Khan Market, where I wanted to buy some extra film for the rest of my trip. In the rickshaw, Amir put his arm around me, leaned into me and put one of his earbuds in my ear.
With his soundtrack of Bollywood classics, we cruised through Delhi like this. His gestures, both gentle and self-assured, surprised me and broke down barriers in ways that are hard to put into words.

 
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Amir and I at India Gate, Delhi - 2009



Late that evening we had a photograph taken in front of India Gate. Amir signed it so firmly that 'Amir Ahmed Khan in India' is imprinted across our bodies on the photograph I have since kept in my India travel book.
The kind of affection that flowed that day stayed with me when I left Delhi the next morning, and has since. But it took me ten years to realize Amir's embrace planted a seed for my work in India in the past two years and now, in 2019.

Every now and then Amir and I chat, and he sends me pictures of his wife and daughter.

 
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Excerpt from an informal interview. 2017



Archival Inkjet Print

 
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Goal and Chandan stopped on their bike commute. Sahibganj, Jharkhand - 2017



Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
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Excerpt from an informal interview. 2017



Archival Inkjet Print

 
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Excerpt from an informal interview. 2017



Archival Inkjet Print

 
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Day laborers in Sahebganj. Sahebganj, Jharkhand - 2017




Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
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Excerpt from an informal interview. 2017



Archival Inkjet Print

 
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Yash drying his Gamchha in the breeze, after his morning bath and worship. Sahebganj, Jharkhand - 2017




Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
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Excerpt from an informal interview. 2017



Archival Inkjet Print

 
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Gaurab and Ravi asked for a selfie near the Ganges. Sahebganj, Jharkhand 2017




Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
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Excerpt from an informal interview. 2017



Archival Inkjet Print

 
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Aniket paced nervously for a while when I reached his room. New Delhi, 2017




Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
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Excerpt from an informal interview. 2017



Archival Inkjet Print

 
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Irfan came to the hotel after Friday prayer. Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh - 2017



Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
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Excerpt from an informal interview. 2017



Archival Inkjet Print

 
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Excerpt from an informal interview. 2017



Archival Inkjet Print

 
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After a two hour trek we arrived in Sanjay's village in the foothills of the Himalayas. Uttarakhand - 2017




Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
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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_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

 
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A class photo, near Chamundeswari Devi Temple. Karnataka - 2018



Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
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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

 
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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 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

 
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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_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

 
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Rajeev and Arun, with Amma looking on. Tamil Nadu - 2019



Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
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Muneesh in his fishing village near Rameswaram. Tamil Nadu - 2019



Archival Pigment Print from B/W Negative

 
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Mujeeb sent me selfies via WhatsApp for over a year after I asked him for a portrait one evening in Mussoorie. Uttarakhand - 2018



Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
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

 
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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)

 
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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.

 
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Samples of transcriptions and translations of 120+ informal interviews.
 
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Artist Book made for the exhibition titled 'Zameen Asmaan Ka Farq' at Photo Is:Rael (Tel Aviv, 2019)


Hardcover, 122 pages, including 54 texts, 32 photographs

 
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Artist Book made for the exhibition titled 'Zameen Asmaan Ka Farq' at Photo Is:Rael (Tel Aviv, 2019)


Hardcover, 122 pages, including 54 texts, 32 photographs

 
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Artist Book made for the exhibition titled 'Zameen Asmaan Ka Farq' at Photo Is:Rael (Tel Aviv, 2019)


Hardcover, 122 pages, including 54 texts, 32 photographs

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-_MOL0608-2.jpg
Artist Book made for the exhibition titled 'Zameen Asmaan Ka Farq' at Photo Is:Rael (Tel Aviv, 2019)


Hardcover, 122 pages, including 54 texts, 32 photographs

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MarcOhrem-Leclef-_MOL0612-2.jpg
Artist Book made for the exhibition titled 'Zameen Asmaan Ka Farq' at Photo Is:Rael (Tel Aviv, 2019)


Hardcover, 122 pages, including 54 texts, 32 photographs

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 4 ANMOL
 
 
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Archival Pigment Print from Color Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 10 AFTER A TWO HOUR TREK WE ARRIVED IN SANJAY
 
 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_MARC OHREM-LECLEF 8 SUDHEER WITH HIS MOTHER AND WIFE, VIDYA_ WHEN WE SAT DOWN TO TALK ABOUT SUDHEER
 
 
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Anmols
 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_AFTER A TWO HOUR TREK WE ARRIVED IN SANJAY