Papering the Town: An Interview with Rich McCor of Paperboyo

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In a world filled with so many carbon copies, it is refreshing to see an artist bring something fresh to the scene. Rich McCor of @paperboyo Instagram fame burst onto the scene one year ago with his uniquely curated profile. This account is filled with paper cut-outs placed in strategic locations around the world. The FIDM Digital Arts team was fortunate enough to interview McCor in order to learn more about his ideas, inspirations, future endeavors and creative process.

[FIDM Digital Arts] How did your Instagram account get started?

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[McCor] “Last year it occurred to me that after having lived in London for four years, I’d taken it for granted; the landmarks and iconic features in my city had almost become invisible due to their familiarity. This inspired me to pick up my camera and start looking at these landmarks behind a viewfinder and appreciate them more. Whilst exploring London with my camera, I had the idea of turning Big Ben into a wristwatch with a paper cut-out. After that I began looking at other landmarks in a new way and developing ideas for them. My style of photography evolved from there and it led to an Instagram following which has taken me around the world.”

What serves as the biggest inspiration for your art form?

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“Pop culture is usually my biggest inspiration- the key is to come up with a simple enough idea that people will instantly recognize, and usually that works well with film references. That said, there’s no formula. Sometimes I’ll have an idea for something immediately and other times it will only be after an hour of looking at a piece of architecture until I have an idea.”

Describe the creative process of curating a post.

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“Before I travel to a city I’ll spend a fair bit of time researching popular landmarks in that city, as well as other unusual buildings, statues etc. I’ll then make the cutouts before I travel (which is a bit of a risk because it sometimes means I don’t quite get the size or design right, but if I were to design and cut the cut-outs on location then that wouldn’t leave me much time to explore). As a result of that usually 2 out of 10 ideas completely fails. There’s a folder on my desktops full of photo failures from around the world.”

Your pictures are very visually stunning and accurate. What does it take to get the perfect lighting, angle, quality, etc.?

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“It takes about 30 frustrated minutes of shooting endless photos until the wind stops for long enough that the paper doesn’t flap, the sun is in just the right spot and my hand is able to hold the camera without shaking so that I can get the snap I want. Even then I’ll usually take a further fifty or so shots to make sure I’ve definitely got a good shot.”

What post are you most proud of?

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“I love the UFO in Copenhagen photo- it’s one of my first ones. It’s simple and effective and still makes me smile.”

How do you decide where in the world you are traveling to next?

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“Dubai is my next trip but that’s not until October, so I’ll be doing some more London ones until then.”

How do you see yourself evolving?

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“There’s a lot of activity and engagement with video content, so it would be great to team up with someone who’s equally passionate about traveling and who can film too. I think it would be fun to create a series of YouTube films about looking at cities in a new way- both literally through my photography and then figuratively through trying out unusual local experiences.”

All image credit goes to Rich McCor.

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Author: Whitney Sutherland

Whitney Sutherland recently graduated from FIDM's Merchandising & Marketing program. She’s an adventurer, a movie lover, a social media enthusiast, a health nut, a passionate writer, and a lover of life.

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