We chat to Tony Sellen, honourable second-placer in this year's #WexMondays photography competition
Image entered in Week 18 of #WexMondays, placed third. All images in this post by Tony Sellen
A year is a long time for a competition to run, especially a weekly one.
One of the pleasures of our weekly #WexMondays Twitter competition is that we really get to know the styles and preferred subjects of the regular entrants. It’s something we look forward to every week.
We got used to anticipating the considered, elegant monochromes of Tony Sellen. Often taking architecture as his subject, Tony developed a distinctive and finely honed style that the judges readily responded to and saw him staking a firm place near the top of the leaderboard.
For his dedication, effort and exceptional photographic skill, Tony nets himself £500-worth of Wex vouchers. Fresh from his achievement, Tony agreed to a quick chat with us about the competition and his photography…
Week 2, Second Place
Wex Photographic: Congratulations on placing second in the competition, Tony. What was your reaction once the results were settled?
Tony Sellen: “The last two weeks were pretty exciting. I needed to win both of them to have a chance of finishing in first place. However, I made the shortlist on the first week but scored no points, which meant my dreams of winning were sadly over. However, I had to pick myself up and go again as Tom was hot on my heels for the second place.”
“I was thrilled when I found out I’d placed second in the final week’s competition, as this meant I had gotten enough points to not be caught up in the table. It’s always an achievement placing, but this was even more special as it meant I’d secured the overall runner-up spot.”
Final Week, Second Place
WP: How do you approach the challenge of getting out and shooting every week?
TS: “I’d like to think I’d be out most weeks taking photos even if it wasn’t for WexMondays.”
“Although there were a couple of weeks that I struggled for inspiration and motivation, and if it hadn’t been for being up the top of the table I may not have made it out. There is a lot more pressure at the top of the table, but it can give you that extra little push when you need it.”
Week 32, Second Place
WP: Which other competitors produce work that you particularly enjoy?
TS: “There are stunning entries week in week out, I enjoy viewing all of them. Neil Burnell’s and Darren Rose’s styles of photography are both ones I enjoy myself, so it was always a pleasure seeing their posts. David Hopley has had some amazing drone entries, and there were consistently beautiful landscapes from Verity Milligan, Lee Acaster and Matt Dartford to name a few.”
WP: Is there an entry of yours from this year that you’re particularly proud of?
TS: “Getting second place with an iPhone shot was something I was proud of. I was away for the week and didn’t have my camera with me. I knew it was going to be hard to get a shot good enough to enter.”
Week 17, Second Place
“Luckily I was going to watch Djurgården versus Hammarby, a fierce Stockholm derby football match. The fans are so passionate; there’s lots of cheering with fireworks and flares going off. An amazing atmosphere, I’m hoping to go back next season.”
WP: Your architectural shots are hugely distinctive – I often recognise them as yours before I see your name. How have you cultivated your style?
TS: “I’ve always been fascinated with fine art architectural photography, it shows buildings in a way that you wouldn’t normally see them. Using long-exposure techniques to smooth the sky and water while keeping definition in the buildings really makes them stand out and shows the finer details.”
“Living close to London offers a style and subject matter that suits me well. With its ever-changing skyline, there is always something new to go out and find in London.”
Week 47, Winner
WP: You work largely in monochrome – what appeals to you about b&w?
TS: “Using deep contrasts and a good range of tones can really make black-and-white images pop. While a colourful sunset will always stand out, it’s more of an achievement if you can get an image with no colour to have the same wow-factor. It’s where photography started, and it’s a style that will never go out of fashion.”
Week 16, Second Place
WP: What camera gear do you use?
TS: “I use Nikon cameras: an FX and an infrared-converted DX. I’ve always used Nikon cameras and lenses. Recently I’ve been using Zeiss prime lenses; they offer so much contrast and produce some amazing black-and-white images.”
Week 13, Third Place
WP: What advice would you have for someone entering the competition for the first time in 2017?
TS: “Get involved, there’s a great community of photographers that enter each week. A lot of banter and amazing photographs being shared. Join in the fun.”
WP: Will you be entering in 2017?
TS: “I will certainly be back in 2017. Trying to go one better than this year.”
Want to play #WexMondays? All you need is a camera and a Twitter account! Follow us on Twitter to stay updated about the next competition
About the Photographer