Episode 15: Pictures (1981)

Never Repeats takes a journey up the Wanganui River with Michael Black’s historical drama Pictures. A fictionalised portrait of Dunedin-based photographers the Burton brothers, the film depicts Alfred Burton’s historic journey through King Country, while he and his brother Walter each come to terms with the harsh reality of colonialism in New Zealand.

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Pictures Director: Michael Black
Producer: John O’Shea
Screenplay: John O’Shea, Robert Lord
Director of Photography: Rory O’Shea
Editor: John Kiley
Music: Jan Preston

Alfred Burton
…Kevin J. Wilson
Walter Burton…Peter Vere-Jones
John Rochfort…Terence Bayler
Lydia Burton…Helen Moulder
Helen Burton…Elizabeth Coulter
Ngatai…Matiu Mareikura


  • If you’re looking to pick up a copy of Pictures, the NZ DVD release is the way to go. Still available from various sellers – check out NZ Videos for links, as always.
  • Since we recorded this episode, Terence Bayler has sadly passed away at the age of 86. If you’re interested in learning more about his fascinating life and career, this obituary in The Guardian is a good place to start.
  • For a good, quick overview of the life of Alfred Burton, check out this article from the Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. A similar biography can be found here, along with a list of publications that may be available from the library at Te Papa.
  • Anyone interested in more information about Alfred Burton’s journey into King Country should seek out his own account, published under the title Through the King Country with the camera: a photographer’s diary. If you live in New Zealand, check your local library to see if they have a copy; if you live in Wellington, a reference copy is available at the Central Library.
  • Tim Wong’s essay film Out of the Mist (briefly mentioned in this episode) can be watched here at Lumière Industries.
  • Much like our episode on Goodbye Pork Pie, you may notice some audio inconsistencies in this episode. This is due to us needing to re-record some extra bits after our initial discussion. Our audio equipment has been giving us some trouble recently, resulting in more prominent surface noise in some places. We’ve tried to ameliorate this as much as possible, but you may notice some audible shifts in quality.
  • It turns out that poster images for a film titled Pictures are unsurprisingly hard to search for. The one used above was swiped from the film’s IMDb page and, judging by the ‘A’ rating, would appear to be of British origin.
  • The member of ‘Hello Sailor’ who formed ‘Coup D’Etat’ with Jan Preston is named Harry Lyon. In the podcast Hayden slips up and refers to him as ‘Harry Preston’.

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