The story behind hit Instagram account Accidentally Wes Anderson and its new book
With obsessive symmetry, pop-pastel colours, vibrant patterned wallpaper and buildings of faded grandeur akin to the much-loved Wes Anderson films, Accidentally Wes Anderson is the hit Instagram account us creatives just love to follow. Now its founder Wally Koval has released a new book in its honour, celebrating three years in the making and giving us a little escapism during the pandemic.
Accidentally Wes Anderson is a "visual adventure of Wes Anderson proportions", featuring stunning photographs of real-life places that seem plucked from his imagined world, presented with the fascinating human stories behind each façade. And it all comes with a foreword from the legendary filmmaker himself (who also authorised the title).
"I can't tell you how wide my mouth is from smiling so hard," Wally tells Creative Boom in a phone call. "His foreword is like the biggest stamp of approval. Wes spent a little bit of time with the book before deciding to do the intro, and it's short, it's sweet, and it couldn't be more perfect."
If you're not yet familiar with @accidentallywesanderson, it's a curated, collaborative feed of submitted photographs that anyone can contribute to. "If you see a structure, a storefront, a symmetrical scene that moves the imagination, take a photo," as Wally and team instruct via the website.
It all began in 2017 when Brooklyn-based Wally and his wife Amanda started an Instagram account, sharing a picture of the abandoned Belvédère Hotel on Switzerland's Furka Pass; three years later, and over 1.2 million people follow the growing community.
The irony of the book coming out at a time when travel is all but a far-flung fantasy hasn't been lost on Wally, though.
"It's awful, no matter what way you look at it. But in a very odd way, this book is coming out at the right time, when people can gain the most from it.
"I think that it brings a level of positivity, a layer of anticipation for your next adventure, and more appreciation for the places you already know."
Coming from a marketing background, Wally is no stranger to creativity, and this 'accidental' Wes Anderson adventure of his has also given Wally a new appreciation for all things architecture and design. It's also allowed him to "learn something new every day."
"Just look at Buckingham Palace," he explains. "Everybody knows it, but did you know the Queen has a horological team of three or four people who spend more than 24 hours switching all of the manual clocks in the palace to Daylight Savings Time? They make sure that they all wind and tick at the exact same time. And the Queen even has an official Shoe Breaker-Inner!"
The idea for the book came about two and a half years ago when Wally and Amanda began whittling away through over 15,000 photos and countless locations to select the 200 destinations featured in the final (and gorgeous looking) book.
"It feels good having the final product in my hand," says Wally, as he explains how important it was to produce a book as gloriously stylish as anything from the Wes Anderson filmography (of which, Wally says, Rushmore is the one he'd choose if stranded on a desert island in a very tasteful and twee-looking treehouse).
"I hold myself as an incredibly critical consumer of what we put out to the community. You can put something pretty and flashy in front of me, but it still needs to be something of substance.
"In the end, this book shows us there is significant beauty in our world, and such an interesting story literally down every block, no matter where you live. You just need to open your eyes to it."
Accidentally Wes Anderson by Wally Koval is published by Trapeze in hardback, priced at £25. Discover more at accidentallywesanderson.com.