www.marcleclef.com
© 2018 Marc Ohrem-Leclef


Zameen Asmaan Ka Farq
Jugaad / Of Intimacy and Love
- ongoing -

In this project gestures of intimacy form the departure point for an exploration of the intersections of homosocial culture, friendship and love between men in India.
Deeply moved by these physical affirmations of bonding that are mostly absent in the West, through collaborative portraiture and informal interviews I document the many kinds of loves I encounter across castes, classes and religions in urban centers and remote villages.
The work I make both considers how traditional fluidity of sexuality, gender and identity were impacted by colonial masculinities, the embrace of western culture and contemporary gender identity politics, as well as my own, inherently Western/queer gaze.
Since 2017 I have collaborated with individuals of wide range of backgrounds and identities in these territories, both photographing and recording over 100 conversations, in nine languages: West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala.
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.
For the full statement go to the > Artist Statement link in menu to the left.
 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_IMG_1157.jpg
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.

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_IMG_1167.jpg
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.

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_marcohrem-leclef-etj8994-4_v2.jpg

Excerpt from an informal interview.
2017

 
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
BW photograph from Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_marcohrem-leclef-etj9004-3.jpg

Excerpt from an informal interview.
2017

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_moleclef-moleclef-moleclef-vermontcenterofphoto-cool-7.jpg

Friends Chotu and Rajan leaving the temple. Sahebganj, Jharkhand - 2017
Color photograph from Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_marcohrem-leclef-etj8948-3.jpg

Excerpt from an informal interview with collaborators.
2017

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_moleclef-moleclef-moleclef-3111-05clarkhouse-final-flat.jpg

Day laborers in Sahebganj. Sahebganj, Jharkhand - 2017
BW photograph from Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_marcohrem-leclef-etj8946-3.jpg

Excerpt from an informal interview.
2017

 
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. Sahebganj, Jharkhand - 2017
Color photograph from Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_marcohrem-leclef-etj8953-3.jpg

Excerpt from an informal interview.
2017

 
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. Sahebganj, Jharkhand 2017
BW photograph from Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_marcohrem-leclef-etj8968-3.jpg

Excerpt from an informal interview with a collaborator.
2017

 
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
BW photograph from Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_marcohrem-leclef-etj8940-3.jpg

Excerpt from an informal interview.
2017

 
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
Color photograph from Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_marcohrem-leclef-etj8980-3.jpg

Excerpt from an informal interview.
2017

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_ohrem-leclefmarc-6.jpg

Akhtar was eager for us to meet his best friend Dilshaad in his barber shop. Maler Kotla, Punjab - 2017
BW photograph from Negative

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_marcohrem-leclef-etj8959-3.jpg

Excerpt from an informal interview.
2017

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_marcohrem-leclef-10.jpg

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

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_img0763-2.jpg
Transcriptions and translations of informal interviews.
 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_India-Map_Towns-Villages-Hamlets_visited_2017-2019-Small_v4.jpg
Cities, Villages and Hamlets worked in between 2017-2019
 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_moleclef236690571475934225787417750770064627192911o_v2.jpg

Excerpts from informal interviews with collaborators.
Installation at Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, Nov. 2017

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_moleclef2354994014759342791207456894941822164130000o_v2.jpg

Excerpts from informal interviews with collaborators.
Installation at Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, Nov. 2017

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_moleclef2351120614759342557874143363323383418950066o.jpg

Excerpts from informal interviews with collaborators.
Installation at Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, Nov. 2017

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_moleclef2367491114759345824540487541523251051775973o_v2.jpg

Excerpts from informal interviews with collaborators.
Installation at Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, Nov. 2017

 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_moleclef2359362614759336491208089118207053474203260o_v2.jpg
Installation at Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, Nov. 2017
 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_moleclef2363261214759316224543446468496323408510677o_v2.jpg
Installation at Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, Nov. 2017
 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_moleclef2359227814759340924540975707616578236157309o_v2.jpg
Installation at Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, Nov. 2017
 
https://www.marcleclef.net/files/gimgs/th-52_52_moleclef2359226914759337557874648775841188911661294o_v2.jpg
Installation at Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, Nov. 2017