The Art of Visual Storytelling on Instagram: Interview with Rich McCor aka @paperboyo

Photographer, Traveller, Influencer, Instagrammer, Storyteller, Londoner… This month, Digital Agency Network is presenting Paperboyo and all his talents!

One of the coolest public figures in the creative industry, Rich McCor aka Paperboyo happens to be the result of doing what you love and loving what you do. Starting as a writer and never giving up on his hobbies, he now runs a company, travels the world and mashes up his incredible photographs with papers as a unique example of visual storytelling on Instagram. We’re thrilled to know more about his career journey and … the rest of his other journeys.

Q: What is the story behind Paperboyo? Where does the name come from?

When I started my Instagram it was going to be all about paper craft, and being a young man at the time “paperboy” that felt like a good username. However, that was taken so I just put an ‘o’ on the end thinking it didn’t really matter because it was only going to be friends and family who would follow me. But when I started growing an audience that I realised I probably should have chosen a better name but it’s stuck now. I often get asked if I’m Welsh because they use the phrase ‘boyo’ a lot, but unfortunately I’m not.

Q: What was your motivation to create your Instagram page in the first place? Which challenges did you face during your journey?

I started off by taking fairly conventional photos in my home city of London as a hobby but then I wanted to find a way to stand out from the other photographers in London. I decided I had two options- either get better at photography or be different. So I took the second route and through experimentation, I landed on the idea of using paper cut-outs to transform and embellish London landmarks. This then eventually led on to me travelling the world transforming landscapes all over the place.

Q: As a popular visual storyteller, what inspires your work and which artists do you personally follow?

Christoph Niemann was a huge inspiration when I started- I love his style, his approach and the thought process he puts into his work. His Abstract Sunday series on Instagram was a big influence when I was looking for my own style because it was so different to everything else I was seeing on Instragram. His work made me realise that in order to stand out I didn’t need to be better, I needed to be different.

Q: Effective storytelling is an important component of modern marketing, desired by most marketers. How do you support digital agencies & brands with their marketing efforts and what is your criteria for forming partnerships?

I’m often told by agencies that choose to work with that I’m their ‘disruptive’ choice, i.e. they want to work with me because no-one else is making the sort of content I make. I love working with brands that understand that ideas can’t be formulated, and instead understand that it’s a sense of playfulness which produces creative results. I’ve had some clients approach me with very rigid briefs and I can’t produce effective imagery when the brief is tight, but when a brief is more open then it’s a project I can do something with.


Q: What are the most important Instagram marketing trends that you have observed so far? What do you think will be the next big trend in visual storytelling?

When Insta Stories first launched not everybody was using them, but now it’s impossible for me to watch all of my friend’s stories because they’re all using the feature. As a result I’ve noticed people doing things to make their stories stand out- some are creating narrative driven stories, interactive stories (see @pablo.rochat’s work) and even editing them to make them beautiful mini vlogs.

The more curated content on Instagram in general becomes, the more there will be a need for raw, un-filtered content again so I think Instagram will provide a new way of sharing that sort of content. I’m sure they’ll also be looking to find a way to challenge the success of video on Tik-Tok, and they’re still keen to push IGTV so I think we can expect to see more investment and improvements in that feature.

Q: What is it like to be a digital nomad? Can you recall a special moment from your journey?

I’ve had so many beautiful moments and opportunities because of my photography and I’m really lucky because of it. I think the one that stands out is the opportunity to travel to Easter Island because of my Instagram, that was a trip I will never forget. That place had been at the top of my bucket list ever since I was a kid.

Q: Travels, brand partnerships and a book – what’s next? What are your future plans for Paperboyo?

I think as with a lot of freelancers who pursue careers they love, I just still want to be doing it this time next year.

So, if you don’t want to miss out the latest works of @paperboyo, follow up and scroll down on his incredible Instagram page!