Escape into the wonderful world of Wes Anderson with this new travel photography book

Step into the symmetrically splendid aesthetic of a cult film director with the new travel photography book Accidentally Wes Anderson, created by the curator behind the viral Instagram account of the same name.

By Sarah Barrell
Published 1 Nov 2020, 08:00 GMT
This scene from the Amer Fort in Rajasthan is one of the many real-life locations in Willy Koval’s ...

This scene from the Amer Fort in Rajasthan is one of the many real-life locations in Willy Koval’s exquisitely curated new book, Accidentally Wes Anderson

Photograph by @chrsschlkx

In the last two years, a community of more than one million people has amassed around a social media account that celebrates a great love of travel, photography, design and, ultimately, the symmetrically splendid celluloid universe conjured by film director, Wes Anderson. The Instagram account, @accidentallywesanderson — set up in 2018 as a whimsical labour of love by self-confessed ‘Anderson fanboy’ Wally Koval — currently gains around 3,500 followers a week, all seduced by its photographs of real-life places that seem plucked from the just-so world of Anderson's films. It’s so beloved by the platform that Instagram’s office in New York City has a conference room named after the account.

And now the director himself has endorsed the exquisitely curated homage, in the shape of a foreword to Koval’s new book, Accidentally Wes Anderson. This visual journey through 200 of the account’s best travel shots is accompanied by the human stories behind each seemingly fanciful facade and Technicolor-tinged location — from Prague’s Hotel Opera, a fine building double for Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, to Roberts Cottages in California, a the pastel-perfect parade of houses that could be straight out of any of his works.

With the release of Anderson’s latest flick, The French Dispatch, pushed back to 2021, we’ll have to wait a little longer to see the likes of Timothée Chalamet, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and more playing a mob of American journalists plying their trade in a fictional 20th-century French city. But in the meantime, this collection of images, where the world apparently imitates Anderson’s art, provides a finely tuned aesthetic appetiser.

Accidentally Wes Anderson, by Wally Koval, with a foreword from Wes Anderson, is published by Trapeze, RRP: £25

Three more film-themed reads

The Nolan Variations
An exclusive account by film critic Tom Shone of the life and movies of Christopher Nolan. Through a series of interviews with the ‘blockbuster auteur’, accessing previously unseen photographs, storyboards and sketches, Shone reveals the level of research Nolan dedicates to location scouting, including the use of Paris for key scenes in the film, Inception, Iceland as a double for different planets in Interstellar, and the director’s deep connection to a beach in Dunkirk. It’s a great background read for those who have just seen, or are about to see, Nolan’s current epic biopic, Tenet. (Faber & Faber, £30)

National Trust on Screen
The conservation charity’s location managers Harvey Edgington and Lauren Taylor take readers behind the scenes at the 10 most-filmed National Trust sites nationwide. This insider’s guide for film and TV buffs includes exclusive shots of actors in situ — from Colin Firth doing his Mr Darcy dive into the lake at Lyme, in Cheshire, to Daniel Radcliffe donning his Hogwarts robes in the cloisters at Lacock Abbey, in Wiltshire — and reveals the logistics behind hosting an average of nine shoots per month while safeguarding historic estates. (National Trust, £9.99)

Iconic New York
Nowhere, perhaps, has sparked such directorial inspiration as the Big Apple and, always firmly in the spotlight, is Manhattan’s pop-up-and-perform skyline. The panoramic splendour of New York’s cityscape is captured, obsessively, in this newly expanded glossy book by photographer and native New Yorker, Christopher Bliss. Dedicated to exploring the city’s familiar profile, superstar skyscrapers and standout architecture, alongside film favourites like the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and Central Park in all seasons, Bliss has included recent scenes from the even-changing borough of Brooklyn. (teNeues, €35/£32)

Published in the Nov/Dec 2020 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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