The simplest idea can pave the road to an escape. Rich McCor (Paperboyo) took his hobby to new heights with his clever cut outs combined with landscapes. In doing so, he found a really fun niche combining photography with adventures. Today he shares some insights about his work, passions and plans for the future.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your professional background.
Ever since I was young I knew I wanted to do ‘something’ creative – I remember especially seeing the thumbprints in the early Wallace and Gromit animations and realising that someone had physically made these characters come to life. There was something really inspiring about the fact that hours of craft had gone into it. Beyond that I had no clear concept, so I ended up doing a generic media degree that taught a little bit of everything and I decided I wanted to be a TV Producer, so when I left university I became a runner on a number of TV shows. After a while though it became clear to me that I wouldn’t be able to get as hands on as I wanted to as a producer, so I joined a creative team at an agency in a junior position and spent my free time making short films and music videos for friend’s bands. It was here that I discovered paper craft and began using paper in my projects.
Competition Time: I’m giving away TWO signed copies of my upcoming book “Around The World in Cut-Outs” (published by @penguinukbooks ); one for you and one for a friend. To be in with a chance of winning double tap my cutout of Marilyn and tag a travel loving friend you’d give the book to in the comments. T&Cs: UK entrants only. Competition closes at 6pm 23rd September. The winner will be selected by @penguinukbooks. The books will be sent out (to the person who comments) shortly after publication on 5th October 2017.
How did you come up with this idea to combine landscapes with paper cut outs? Was there a moment of inspiration while you were traveling?
When Instagram started to get big in 2014, I was re-inspired to pick up photography (I’d learnt the basics at university) and started to explore London with my camera. I was enjoying it, and enjoying discovering new parts of London, but it was pretty obvious that my photos were very similar to most people’s photos of London and that there wasn’t really any creativity in what I was doing. Then in the middle of 2015 I was standing on Westminster Bridge looking up at Big Ben and had the idea to combine my paper craft with landmarks, so I went home and cut out a wristwatch from paper, returned to the bridge and took a photo of it with the face of Big Ben as the watch face.
To do this kind of work, you have to have a very strong artistic vision. Could you tell me a little bit about the process of creating one of your images? Do you scout out locations first and then create cut outs?
I spend a lot of time before a trip doing research around famous landmarks, lesser known landmarks and any un-usual pieces of architecture that might lend itself to what I do. Ultimately it also becomes a great way of planning a trip, because I often come across so many things that I want to go and check out when I travel somewhere.
I’ll often try and find about ten locations in a destination that I can develop ideas around, and when I’ve chosen ten I’ll doodle and draw ideas until I get a range of ideas that excite me. Then I’ll cut them out before I travel there. I still take my cutting board and tools with me though because quite often I’ll come across something whilst I’m out there that will inspire an idea.
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I’ve read that you find the process of cutting out things therapeutic. Do you keep all your cutouts for more projects?
I do keep them yes, it’s difficult to giveaway or throwaway something you spent so long on. Sometimes I re-use them, but I tend to stick them to the wall of my studio as a reminder of previous trips (plus they liven up my otherwise bland studio walls).
The weather has been way better than when I was here last year so I couldn’t resist re-shooting this one #ParisJeTaime #MyFrance #MyParis #MadeinFrance #MadeinParis #arcdetriomphe ##champselysees #Paris #Funny #PaperArt #Silhouette #Igersfrance #igersoftheday #ig_france #instafrance #ig_paris #travelgram #travelpics #tourism #wanderlust #topparisphoto #passionpassport #lego #architecturelovers #architectureporn
What project or photo are you were most proud of?
There’s a photo of Tower Bridge as a rollercoaster that I love because it took me a long time to develop an idea with Tower Bridge that I truly liked. Also it was shot at 4:30am one summer’s day, and nothing beats being in London for sunrise when there’s no one else around. It’s a privilege to experience that.
Put your hand up if you think commuting in London would be more fun with this rollercoaster. And put your other hand up if you want to win a trip to Dubai! Next month I’m heading over there and excitingly I’ve teamed up with the folk from @visit.dubai as part of their Here Today, Dubai Tomorrow campaign to look for a photographer to join me on the trip. All you need to do is capture a photo of wherever you are in your own unique way, then upload it with the hashtags #DubaiTomorrow & #InstagramComp (T&C’s for the comp are on dubaitomorrow.com).You’ll be coming out with me and a group of incredible instagrammers so it’s going to be a great chance to share ideas, learn new camera skills and check out everything the city has to offer including the brand new @dubaiparksresorts (where they have proper rollercoasters). We’re after someone based in the UK who can capture moments in their own unique way so if you know anyone who would be good for this then tag them here (or tag yourself if you’re up for the challenge). See you in Dubai….well, I’ll probably see you at the airport first but saying “see you in Dubai” sounds cooler. (You can put your hands down now. You were starting to look silly) #London #Dubai #TowerBridge #RollerCoaster #Thames #Sunrise #Silhouette #Paperart #PhotoComp #Spon #Paper #Photography #ThisIsLondon #Hq_globe #StopReadingTheseHashtagsAndGoTakeAPhotoForTheCompetition
The artist in you shines through your images, what other art forms do you pursue?
I never took art at school so I think this has been a way of the frustrated artist in me getting out. I’m currently exploring using CG animation to bring my images to life, and beyond that I’d love to go back to stop motion. Perhaps that will be a way of the Wallace and Gromit influence finally coming full circle.
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The world is your playground but where do you think your travels will take you next?
There’s still so many places I’d love to explore- Tokyo and Sydney are top of my list at the moment. But I can also adapt my style to work on a smaller scale so there’s still a wide spectrum of ideas to explore.
Every time I go to New York it baffles me as to why there’s steam pouring up from the ground, so this time I did some detective work to get an answer 🔍 (i.e. I went on Google). About 100,000 businesses and homes in Manhattan rely on steam for heating & electricity and they’re all fed by a complex system of underground steam pipes. The reason you see clouds of steam on the streets is because water has come into contact with a pipe underground. Unless it’s a leak. When that happens a lot of steam escapes so these fancy white & orange chimneys come out to guide the steam above vehicles to prevent road accidents. Fascinating right? Shoutout to @grandhyattnyc who gave me a history lesson on the area of Midtown (and who you can see in the background just in front of the Chrysler building) #newyork #nyc #grandhyatt #livinggrandnyc #steam
What have you learned while working on the project with cutouts and landscapes?
That you have to love what you do. I never had bad jobs before this, but I was never really fully invested in them and therefore I didn’t really excel. This style of photography that I’ve adopted really excites me though, and ever since I took it full time my work ethic has been way beyond what it was before and I’ve been rewarded with amazing travel opportunities and experiences. I love what I do and I wish I’d found it sooner.
As well as that I’ve constantly been amazed by the locations I’ve explored – both in their beauty but also the history and stories that each place has to offer. There’s still a world of mystery out there, one that in my 9-5 routine I was quite ignorant of.
If you saw my Insta Stories from Croatia a couple of weeks ago you’ll know I had a whale of a time -pause for laughter- on an island called @obonjan with @visual.fodder and @morenatravels. Obonjan is a previously un-inhabited island, about forty minutes off the coast of Sibenik, that the team behind Hideout Festival have turned into a summer long festival. Unlike other festivals though the focus here is on wellbeing with daily yoga & meditation classes and a treatment spa nestled within a pine forest. Around the island DJs provide the soundtrack for the long afternoons, whilst those in search of peace can find it in secluded beach coves. When the sky darkens, musicians begin the entertainment in the open air amphitheatre as cocktails flow in the bars. I loved all of the above, but the truly unique thing about Obonjan is that if you venture to the beach at night, you’ll find an impressive looking telescope. A glimpse through it brings you freakishly close to craters on the moon’s surface and if you’re lucky you’ll even catch sight of the Andromeda Galaxy. I’ve never done that at a festival before #Obonjan #Obonjan2017 #IslandLife #Whale #Festival #BlueSky
What are your plans for the future? Where will your next projects take you and do you plan on doing something new?
I’m enjoying the ride to be honest. I’m aware that social media can be a fickle area to work in, so I keep evolving my work and I’m being commissioned for projects away from my Instagram so I’m riding the wave whilst it lasts.