Last year we covered the work of Rich McCor, aka paperboyo. Now, as his Instagram account approaches 170k+ followers, Rich tells ArchDaily how it all started, what keeps him going and how he's made his hobby into paid work.
It began with one photo in London when I turned Big Ben into the London Eye. From there I created a series of photos from London, which then led to brands sponsoring me to create images for them in Europe and then from the start of this year I've been able to travel further a field with tourist boards. It's been great to transform familiar sights into something different and it's even more fun watching someone's reaction when they see my photos. I really enjoy it when other tourists come up to me and ask what I'm doing. When I show them the photo their faces go through a transition of confusion, to smiling and then laughing.
I've had a jam packed year so far – I've been to Hong Kong, Singapore, Nanjing, Val d'Isere, New York and Las Vegas with tourist boards, a few other destinations with brands. I've also given a couple of talks on how I've been able to turn a hobby into paid work.
I don't tend to post photos of myself on my Instagram but I do get recognised occasionally when people see me holding up the cutouts in front of my camera- they recognise the style of photography and then ask me if I'm paperboyo. The sweetest example of being recognised happened in Singapore; I ordered room service and started to chat with the lady who kindly brought it up. I mentioned that I travel, take photos and post them on Instagram. She told me that she's following a travel blogger who she recommends and so took out her phone, opened Instagram and showed me the account. I blushed – it was my account. When I told her, she blushed. That was a really cool moment to know that someone the other side of the world was enjoying the photos.
I'm really happy with the Statue of Liberty weightlifter photo. It's an idea I had for a while and couldn't quite get right with the real statue in New York so when I went to Vegas I made sure to try it again. I posted it on Independence Day which I think helped it become one of the most liked photos on my Instagram. I also love the Marina Bay Sands Hotel photo where I turned the famous hotel into a vintage key. The hotel loved that photo too and they invited me to stay there.
I have some nifty tools that help me so the process of cutting out the cutouts isn't as fiddly as it may look, but the doing ones with people's facial features is tricky. I posted a David Bowie tribute silhouette on the day he passed away which was a delicate one to cut.