Delaware natives capture screen in ‘Accidentally Wes Anderson’ book

This photograph of a post office in Wrangell, Alaska, is one of many found in a new book called “Accidentally Wes Anderson.” Based on the popular Instagram account, Delaware-born Wally and Amanda Koval compiled photos inspired by the work of filmmaker Wes Anderson. (Submitted photo)

When @accidentallywesanderson uploaded its first post to Instagram in 2017, it started as a travel bucket list, with pins across the globe for Delaware natives Wally and Amanda Koval to explore on their adventures.

What began just for them, though, grew over the course of three years: 1.1 million followers, a blessing from filmmaker Wes Anderson himself and, now, a book that seeks to capture locations — and their stories — across the world, including Delaware.

“It’s been crazy seeing it grow so much. Not even just seeing it grow, but seeing the community that has come and cultivated around this project has been the most meaningful part of it. We always say, Community with capital ‘C,’” Mr. Koval said. “It’s been unreal, and we’re just really excited to be able to kind of give this back to them. I think they’re going to really, really love (the book).”

Mr. Anderson’s films — including “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Moonrise Kingdom” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” — are full of whimsy, limited color palettes and characters driving the story. It’s a combination of those feelings that the account, and now the book “Accidentally Wes Anderson,” seeks to capture with photos that reflect the kinds of scenes and moments that are featured in a Wes Anderson film.

The most recent Instagram posts take a view around the world, to Reyniskirkja Church in Vik, Iceland, or Alviso Marina County Park in San Jose, California, or the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The colors are vibrant, the images are satisfyingly symmetrical, and each has a story.

Pictured in true Wes Andeson fashion, Delaware natives Wally Koval, and his wife Amanda, started the Instagram @accidentallywesanderson in 2017 as a travel bucket list.(Submitted photo)

“What AWA is, is the intersection of distinctive design — the pretty picture, so to speak — but the unexpected or the interesting narrative,” he said. “That intersection, that bull’s-eye, that’s what’s AWA. You can have a pretty picture, and that’s just fine, but if there’s no story to be told, I’m not that interested.”

The first post — way back in June 2017 — shows Hotel Belvedere in Grindelwald, Switzerland, tucked into snowy mountains along a curved road. As the account started to gain traction, Mr. Koval felt it was important to give more substance and started pulling together information for the sites photographed, as well.

“There’s one thing to see a place and say, ‘That’s a pretty building.’ There’s thousands of people who have walked through that building or walked through that door, each of them their own individual and having so many different experiences,” he said.

“Accidentally Wes Anderson,” slated to release Oct. 20, features more than 180 photographers from across the world and 200 locations.

“Exploring those just a little bit, you’d be really surprised at what you find. So telling that story and also providing something of substance and positivity to the world was really important.”

That essence is captured in the book, which is slated to release Oct. 20 through Little, Brown and Co. Taking the flexibility the internet provides and distilling it into a bound 360-plus-page book was the most challenging part, Mr. Koval noted, calling it “an exercise in decision making.”

“Accidentally Wes Anderson” the book, features 200 locations and their stories and a foreword from Mr. Anderson. More than 180 photographers — from more than 50 countries — are represented in the pages. Its cover highlights the same location as the first post from 2017.

While the account began as a way to admire faraway places, Mr. Koval noted that it’s not just about that.

“The cool part about AWA is that you can find AWA wherever you go,” he said.

“We had grown up in Wilmington and going to Philadelphia, New York and the surrounding area. When COVID hit, we had to adapt, we had to adjust, and we had to evolve, and we ‘accidentally’ proved our model, because we found really interesting stuff in upstate New York, and we found really interesting stuff in downstate Delaware, and we created these adventures. You just don’t have to go far from your hometown to find something interesting.”

The Ascensor Da Bica railway line in Lisbon, Portugal, is pictured in the book “Accidentally Wes Anderson.” Preorder the book online at accidentallywesanderson.com/book. (Submitted photo/Jack Spicer Adams)

The Kovals are both from Wilmington and have spent their summers Downstate; the pair even met in Dewey Beach. Now, they live in New York but still return home to visit family and even to promote the book.

Bethany Beach visitors had a front-row seat to the banner declaring, “Accidentally Wes Anderson. The book,” that glided across the sky this summer.

The couple called several different locations about setting something up, but ended up local because of the pilot, Bob Bunting from Berlin, Maryland, and his story. That can still be viewed on the AWA Instagram.

“I never knew how they picked up a banner, even though sitting on the beach in Dewey or Rehoboth or Bethany for the past, what, 20 years or so, you see the planes go by all the time,” he said. “But that’s just kind of another example, in a way: I saw those planes go by, you’ve seen those planes go by, everybody has seen those planes go by. But have you ever looked into it? Have you ever kind of asked the question like, ‘How’s that done?’”

Sharing that with their “Community” has led to an open dialogue between the Kovals — who run the account themselves — and the “Adventurers.”

When the couple went to Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan, their followers chimed in with a number of places they never would have found without personal connection.

The Amer Fort in Rajasthan, India, is another photo featured in book “Accidentally Wes Anderson,” which contains a forward written by Mr. Anderson himself. (Submitted photo)

“I feel like those little things, those little tidbits, those little deep dives into the culture, into the back alley, into the small little shops and on the ground floor, that’s how you really experience travel,” he said. “That’s how you experience a new location. And I feel like being able to share those experiences, thanks to the Community, with the Community, is what makes it so special.”

And of all the places they’ve gone and will get to go — themselves, or through the Community — they also get to share a little slice of home.

“There are 200 places that we featured, every single continent, including Antarctica. So the fact that we’re able to include Delaware on the same map as all these other incredible places that we’ve explored was really special for us, and being able to tell a little one of the many, many interesting stories from our home state, that was really special,” he said. “We’re excited to share this, and all of these stories, with them.”

And, if you’ve been wondering, Mr. Koval lists “Rushmore,” “Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” “Darjeeling Limited” and “Bottle Rocket” as his top four Wes Anderson favorites, in no particular order.

Preorder the book online at accidentallywesanderson.com/book.