Douai Abbey | Woolhampton | Newbury


Douai Abbey is a Roman Catholic monastery nestled between Reading & Newbury in Berkshire. The grade II heritage-listed church has always been on my list to photograph, so when the opportunity arose I was pretty stoked to give it a go!  

The architecture itself is stunning and from what I've read it took a long time to get to the building it is today. The church was commissioned back in 1928 and the design was very much a traditional gothic style. However, money ran out in 1932 and work stopped for an eye-watering 55 years! 

Micheal Blee took on the project once again in 1987 and had a respect for the original design. His vision was to apply modern materials and construction techniques that complimented the natural rhythms of the existing structure.  

I wanted to showcase the buildings ability to be harmonious with natural light and express the architectural success of modern and old design hand in hand. The deliberate mix of crafts and materials make for an awe-inspiring masterpiece that oozes atmosphere and character.   

This personal project was an open book allowing creative control although I confess I succumbed to the obvious wide shots to give a sense of scale and grandeur to the images. The light on the day was ok, a tad harsh and maybe a dusk revisit would give ideal conditions. The best time of the day would be when the sun streams in through the large collection of windows with a few clouds to diffuse the light would be great!  

To produce the above images, I took a series of exposures.  This allowed for full control of dynamic range and the useful addition of a polariser reduced glare off the stone / marble.  I then combined these photographs in post production and run through my standard workflow.

Please contact me if you have any projects I can help with.  I would also like to mention I'm very flexible in my editing process allowing me to produce images that suite any brand.  I look forward to hearing from you.    All the best.