‘Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh’  

‘Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh’ is Eleanor Macnair’s simple, naïve and slightly strange tribute to photography.

The project was started on a whim in August 2013 following a photo pub quiz run by artists MacDonaldStrand in Brighton. One of the rounds was to make a reproduction of a famous photograph using Play-Doh. In the spirit of post-modern re-appropriation, Macnair took the idea and ran with it. 

Her tools are amateur. Play-Doh, a chopping board, a scalpel and an empty wine bottle used as a rolling pin. Made quietly at home at night at her white Ikea desk, within reach of vast numbers of Play-Doh tubs containing every colour you might imagine. Macnair sometimes stumbles upon her subjects, sometimes selecting obscure images by forgotten photographers or contemporary projects she thinks are worth highlighting. Each image is constructed, carefully photographed in the morning light in an area by the bins in her backyard and then the Play-Doh figures are destroyed and returned to their yellow tubs. 

‘Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh’ has been hugely well-received and garnered a passionate following on social media – in an incredibly democratic approach to her art, even taking on requests. Although superficially bright and fun, the work provides an opportunity to take a second look at these often- viewed images. A chance to, rather than quickly scan, as we do with the multiple images viewed daily, to slow down, take time to look at the images and enjoy them anew. A sold out first book, now has a follow-up, ‘whilst the world sleeps’ published by RRB Photobooks. 

" Through this project I can decide what I want people to see, I can highlight obscure images by forgotten photographers or contemporary projects I think are worth seeing. It’s liberating – I don’t have to justify my choices, I just present them in Play-Doh, link to the original image, and my work is done. ."

Eleanor Macnair was born in Nottingham and lives and works in London. She received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Bristol. Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh was published in book form in 2014 and was included in the Observer Review as one of the photobooks of the year. Her work has been published in the Observer Magazine, The Independent, Elephant Magazine and online publications including BBC News, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Slate and AnOthermag.com amongst others. Macnair’s work has been exhibited in Germany, the US and the UK.

  Eleanor Macnair is interrogating the role of photography in such a rigorously post-pomo way that she must surely be a shoo-in for the next Deutsche Börse prize shortlist. Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh reintroduces the politics of play into contemporary art practice, while holding a soft, slightly bendy mirror to the conceits of traditional photography.”

– Sean O’Hagan, The Guardian​


Whilst The World Sleeps, published by RRB Photobooks. Price (£28 + P+P). If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, then please order through this link

prints Available to purchase

  • A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai), 1993 by Jeff Wall
  • Boy with June Bug, Fort Scott, Kansas, 1963 by Gordon Parks
  • Detail of Aerial Suspension, 2009 from ‘Conjurations’ by Clare Strand
  • ‘I’m Desperate’ from ‘Signs that Say What You Want Them To Say and Not Signs that Say What Someone Else Wants You To Say’ 1992-1993 by Gillian Wearing
  • Untitled from “Back in the Days’, 1980s by Jamel Shabazz
  • Untitled, 1959 by Seydou Keita
  • Gypsy camp, Barcelona, Spain, 1987 by Mary Ellen Mark
  • New Brighton, from ‘The Last Resort’ 1983-85 by Martin Parr
  • Noire and Blanche, 1926 by Man Ray
  • Original photograph- Untitled, 2016 by Ren Hang
  • Oscar Wilde, 1882 by Napoleon Sarony
  • Phoenix Park on a Sunday, Dublin, 1966 by Evelyn Hofer
  • ‘The Lost Head & The Bird’, 2017 by Sohrab Hura
  • Southend, England from ‘The Teds’ 1977 by Chris Steele-Perkins
  • The Damm Family in Their Car, Los Angeles, California, 1987 by Mary Ellen Mark
  • Trolley, New Orleans, 1955 by Robert Frank
  • Twiggy, hair by Ara Gallant, Paris January 1968 by Richard Avedon
  • Untitled film still #21, 1978 by Cindy Sherman
  • Untitled, circa 1975 by William Eggleston
  • Mourner with sign at the Martin Luther King memorial service, Memphis, Tennessee, 8 April 1968 by Bob Adelman
  • Trouser – Word Piece 1972 by Keith Arnatt
  • Citizens of Porto Novo 442 (2012) by Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou
Ellie Davies, Seascape 7, 2020

90 cm x 120 cm, Edition 1/7
Prices starting at £1,200 exc VAT

Also available as:
90 cm x 120 cm, Edition 1/7
Prices starting at £1,200 exc VAT

Ellie Davies, Seascape 8, 2020

90 cm x 120 cm, Edition 1/7
Prices starting at £1,200 exc VAT

Also available as:
68 cm x 90 cm, Edition 1/7
Prices starting at £900 exc VAT

Ellie Davies, Seascape 9, 2020

90 cm x 120 cm, Edition 1/7
Prices starting at £1,200 exc VAT

Also available as:
68 cm x 90 cm, Edition 1/7
Prices starting at £900 exc VAT