Paperboyo's London Eye picture

Instagram star Paperboyo is turning famous buildings into GIFs using Surface Book 2

An Instagram star who creates unique photos by placing paper cut-outs next to famous buildings has teamed up with Microsoft for a set of special pictures.

Rich McCor, known as Paperboyo to his 367,000 fans on the social network, has upgraded to a Surface Book 2 while working in London and the Netherlands, after using the original Surface Book for many years.

The 31-year-old artist, who is famous for turning the London Eye into a bicycle and the Arc De Triomphe into a Lego figure, recently used pieces of black card to turn a tower in Rotterdam into a “test your strength” game, with a cut-out of a man hitting it with hammer.

McCor said the Surface Book 2 made animating the scene a lot easier, as it meant he could take his studio with him wherever he went.


The Surface Book 2, which can be used as a laptop or tablet by connecting or detaching the keyboard, delivers almost seven million pixels, has up to five times the graphics performance of the original Surface Book, is twice as powerful as the new MacBook Pro and features up to 17 hours of battery life. However, it weighs just 4.2 pounds.

“When I saw the Surface Book 2, I thought, ‘brilliant, this is everything I need’,” McCor said. “The fact that it’s so transportable is great. I have to edit on the go, so I can detach the screen when I’m sat in a tight aeroplane seat and do that, or I can doodle my next ideas. It’s so powerful I can do after-effects and animations on it as well, and the Surface Pen is great, too.”

He added that the device was allowing him to do things he couldn’t do before.

“The fact that I can travel with the Surface and spend that time doing animations means that my time is much better spent. I can spend a 10-hour flight figuring out how to animate something, and that’s a really nice thing.”

Get 10% off the Surface Book 2

McCor started creating his pictures in 2015 as an excuse to see more of London – one of his first ideas was turning Big Ben into a watch. Since then, he has travelled to numerous countries, including the US, Singapore and Hong Kong, and released a book entitled Around the World in Cut Outs, which has proved so popular it’s now been translated into German.

Despite his popularity, McCor is still surprised when people recognise him.

“If I’m holding up a piece of paper, especially if I’m doing it on the South Bank, Tower Bridge or somewhere like that, then people will come up to me. They never quite remember my username, so they always say, ‘are you that paper guy from Instagram?’

“I was once in Arizona, in the middle of nowhere on Route 66, near this old, abandoned building. I was doing one of my photos and someone came up to me and said: ‘Are you that paper person from Instagram?’ I thought: ‘Wow, this is a weird place for someone to recognise me’.”

Paperboyo's Clint Eastwood picture

Paperboyo’s Clint Eastwood picture

McCor spends hours researching buildings and coming up with ideas before he visits the location with his camera. He will then take up to 100 photos to ensure he gets one he is happy with, with the whole process taking around three hours. McCor’s favourite picture was taken at Horseshoe Bend in Arizona, which he turned upside-down and made into a picture of actor Clint Eastwood.

“I like that one because Horseshoe Bend is so over-photographed, but I like the challenge of putting a fresh twist on it,” he said. “The great thing is that there are so many architectural buildings and landscapes that I can do something with. Until I get bored of it, I feel like I could go on forever.

“There’s definitely something out there that’s going to be one of those photos that makes me want to sit down and pat myself on the back. I don’t know where it will be yet. The architecture in Tokyo is pretty amazing, and I feel there is something out there I could do that would be quite clever; but getting the perfect picture might be an elusive thing.”

This summer, McCor is running cut-out photography workshops in Germany, visiting Chicago and New York, and following the Red Bull cliff divers around Europe. However, he has identified one particular building he would love to find time to photograph.

“Anything that Zara Hadid has designed is always interesting but there is one in particular I like. It’s called the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan. Her style of architecture is amazing but I feel there is a lot of potential to do something fun with that one.”