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Accidentally Wes Anderson: The Exhibition - A Journey Through Awe, Beauty and Adventure

Last weekend, as someone who really appreciates Wes Anderson's films and his unmistakable aesthetic, I decided to go and see the AWA exhibition – that's short for "Accidentally Wes Anderson." You know, Wes Anderson, the film director who loves using symmetry and pastel colours to create a unique and eye-catching style? Well, there's a whole exhibition inspired by his work. It was started by a couple from Brooklyn, Wally and Amanda. What began as their personal project to put together a travel bucket list has grown into something much bigger—a community that is collecting photographs from all over the world that capture that distinct Wes Anderson style. Now, those photographs have made their way into an exhibition that has been featured all over the world. Right now it's in London, in South Kensington, to be exact. The exhibition is laid out in seven themed rooms, each offering a glimpse into the quirky and meticulous world Wes Anderson fans have come to love.

Walking through "Accidentally Wes Anderson: The Exhibition" feels like stepping into a storybook where every snapshot tells a story. John O'Donohue, in "Beauty: The Invisible Embrace," talks about beauty being more than something to simply look at – it's something that deeply touches us (O'Donohue, 2004). This exhibition brings that to life, making us feel at home with the beauty it showcases.

And it's not just talk – there's solid research backing up how good it feels to be around beauty. Studies have found that being in a beautiful place can help you feel less stressed and even think clearer (Ulrich, 1984; Kaplan, 1995). Plus, there's evidence from brain research showing that looking at art can help keep our emotions balanced (Leder et al., 2004).

Let's take a look at some photographs featured in the exhibition. If you've ever walked by Woolwich Town Hall, you might not have given it much thought, right? Well, Steven Maddison's photo will make you stop and take it all in. This isn't just any old government building – it's a Grade II* listed gem. Maddison's got an eye for the stunning detail that turns an ordinary building into a grand backdrop of people's stories.

Then there's Eric Reichbaum's snapshot of JAS Smith & Sons, the old-school umbrella shop that you will recognise if you have ever wandered along New Oxford Street. It's been around since 1830, outfitting Londoners with brollies and even those James Bond-esque sword canes. Reichbaum's photo captures the shop's quirky window display; a nod to London's history, one rainy day at a time.

As you walk through the exhibition, these photographs are like little history lessons, reminding us that there's a story behind every shop corner and town hall – if we just look closely enough.

What I like about the exhibition is that it's like a reminder, a little nudge to look around and find the beautiful things in the world that you might have missed. It's about seeing everyday stuff with fresh eyes, kind of like putting on a new pair of glasses that make everything look interesting. This is reminiscent of how therapists work with clients – challenging their lens of perception and trying to re-focus their attention to things that might have been overlooked.

In wrapping up, "Accidentally Wes Anderson: The Exhibition" was more than enjoying some pretty pictures. I saw it as a friendly invitation to slow down and notice the beauty that's actually all around us. John O'Donohue was onto something – beauty does have this way of reaching in and giving our spirits a lift.

And that's what's great about this exhibition- it's like a treasure hunt for your eyes and your heart. It makes you want to go out and find your own Wes Anderson moments, those quirky, pretty spots in the world that make your heart sing.


Atchley, R.A., Strayer, D.L. & Atchley, P., 2012. Creativity in the wild: Improving creative reasoning through immersion in natural settings. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 32(4), pp.245-255.

AWA Exhibition, n.d. Your guide to the AWA Exhibition in London. Available at: <> [14.02.24].

Kaplan, S. (1995). The restorative benefits of nature: Toward an integrative framework. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 15(3), 169-182.

Leder, H., Belke, B., Oeberst, A., & Augustin, D. (2004). A model of aesthetic appreciation and aesthetic judgments. British Journal of Psychology, 95(4), 489-508.

Mehta, R., Zhu, R. (Juliet) & Cheema, A., (2012). Is noise always bad? Exploring the effects of ambient noise on creative cognition. Journal of Consumer Research, 39(4), pp.784-799.

O'Donohue, J. (2004). Beauty: The Invisible Embrace. HarperCollins.

Ulrich, R. S. (1984). View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science, 224(4647), 420-421.

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