‘By chance Wes Anderson’ each candy and putting
Most travel books try to shrink the known world in some way. Full of beautiful photos, history and expressions of experience, they make a large planet appear smaller. Then there is “Accidentally Wes Anderson” who does it, but through a very specific lens.
Wally Koval and his wife, Amanda, were avid travelers before opening an Instagram account with daily photos of places around the world that looked like they would appear in the works of Anderson, a Houston-born filmmaker. Anderson’s nine films – the tenth has been delayed due to the pandemic – routinely show a particular visual aesthetic that is easy to spot and difficult to pinpoint with words. In his work, small attributes pop up and pop up again: the use of pastel colors, repetition in miniature, symmetry. Sometimes a great but shabby building has a bit of Anderson flair. Another time it’s a lonely water pump, colored brightly against a glittering sea.
The book is more than just a compilation of photos that were randomly submitted and published. The curatorial process of the Kovals is sharp and the locations are organized by continent. Also included is a little background on each locale, which frees it from any loose association with Anderson’s films.
“The history of these places is just as important to us as the symmetry and the pastel palette,” says Wally Koval. “We wanted to give the context a substance. Hopefully people learn something interesting along the way rather than seeing a random photo with no credit. “
If anything, “Accidentally Wes Anderson” underscores how some architectural trends go well beyond the places we routinely see in the US: A building in Portugal looks like it has a twin in Miami. And the book also notes that small cultural totems and necessities – post offices, water stations, lighthouses, and the like – are often global.
The end result of “Accidentally Wes Anderson” is not necessarily a hit list of places to see on a single trip, but rather pretty little stops around the world, all strangely enough by their design or the feel they convey into one little ways are united by their surroundings. They are cute and flashy little places that can induce a little melancholy or joy. Like a Wes Anderson movie.