This Book Celebrates Wes Anderson-esque Locales

Life imitates art in a new title inspired by one of Hollywood’s most creative directors.

Left to right: 1920s beachfront cottages in Oceanside, California; a mural at the old post office in Wrangell, Alaska. (Photos: Paul Fuentes; Robin Petravic & Catherine Bailey)

Wes Anderson fans bemoaning the indefinitely delayed release of the filmmaker’s tenth feature, The French Dispatch, will find some solace in the pages of a new photography book by fellow Anderson-phile Wally Koval. Called Accidentally Wes Anderson (and published by Trapeze), the 368-page edition is an extension of the popular Instagram account of the same name that Koval and his wife, Amanda, launched in 2017 as a tribute to Anderson’s distinctive, pastel-hued aesthetic.

Filled with pops of color, whimsy, and above all, obsessive symmetry, the book brims with photos contributed by more than 180 enthusiasts in 50-plus different countries, each image capturing a real- life setting that could be a still from The Darjeeling Limited or Moonrise Kingdom or The Grand Budapest Hotel. There are lighthouses and church steeples, pink A-frame beach cottages and faded neo- Renaissance palaces, retro bowling lanes and post offices, cable cars and funicular railway carriages, all as idiosyncratic as the films they emulate.

Courtesy of Accidentally Wes Anderson

Beyond its visual appeal, Accidentally Wes Anderson also serves as a travel guide of sorts. The photos—edited down from about 15,000 submissions—were selected not only for their look but also for the backstory of the facade or scene depicted, and are presented alongside engaging descriptions researched and written by the Brooklyn-based Kovals.

They’re enough to inspire wanderlust in anyone, including Anderson himself, who, while otherwise unaffiliated with the project, writes in the book’s foreword: “The photographs in this book were taken by people I have never met, of places and things I have, almost without exception, never seen—but I must say: I intend to …. especially the Croatian pancakes stand.”

This article originally appeared in the December 2020/February 2021 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Wes World”).

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