Photographer's work synonymous with the south

01:38, Oct 23 2012
Ted Buckley
Ted Buckley

Southland photographer Ted Buckley died as he had lived, quietly with no fuss, clear and alert to the end, knowing what he wanted and seeing it happen.

His son, fellow photographer Donald, said it was good his dad had it his way.

But even close on 99 years is a short enough life when it is your dad's.

When Ted Buckley's family gathered to say goodbye the tributes from his family were to their dad, brother, father-in-law, uncle, granddad, great granddad. That his name was synonymous with film and photography and almost legendary in the south mattered little. They were saying goodbye to their Ted and the gap he left was evident.

Born in 1913, he was the son of the first Buckley photographer, Alan, and his wife Lilian, who lived in the Christchurch suburb of Bexley, on a little land with chooks and cows to help eke out their dad's living as a photographer and photo-engraver at the Lyttelton Times.

When Ted was 14 his dad got him a job there too and in 1927 getting a job through your dad was about the only way people got a job.


But in 1934 the paper folded and Ted was made redundant.

So, being a Buckley he bought a graphlex camera and a motorbike and started out on his own account, accommodating his wife-to-be, Joyce, in a sidecar.

In 1935 they married, moving south as Ted got a job at Craig Print in Invercargill.

Ted ran the photo-engraving department and took photographs for both The Southland Times and the Southland Daily News, meeting two different deadlines with two different pictures of the same event, story angling at its best.

The war interrupted this, Ted called up and away for four years, returning to buy his own business, the traditional portrait studio of Percy Hazledine. Processing work was taken in by chemists. Ted retained both newspaper contracts and photographed debutantes and weddings, babies and family groups in his studio in Don St.

In the fullness of time he was joined in this by his son Donald.

Today the network of Donald Buckley photography stores is a family business with Joanne, daughter of Donald, and his wife Lois, the managing director.

Ted Buckley spent 50 years in the photography business and when he retired put as much energy and enthusiasm into golf and bowls.

When his wife's health deteriorated, they bought a town house at Peacehaven Village, grateful for the help available there.

Mrs Buckley died in 2003.

The next year, on his own and at the age of 93, Ted went on a world trip which included two cruises leaving from Italy, stays in various parts of the world and a time with his grand-daughter Katharine in New York.

On his return to Invercargill he lived on his own until last year when he moved into rest home care at Peacehaven, and could not speak too highly of the care and attention he received.

He was happy and well but on October 9, a month short of his 99th birthday and the 150th celebrations of The Southland Times for whose first published pictures he was responsible, he slipped away quietly, without fuss, as he'd have wished, Donald said.

He is survived by his daughter, Anglican vicar the Reverend Claire Brown and her husband Ted in Dunedin, his son Donald and daughter-in-law Lois in Christchurch, by five grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

And by readers who, when pictures first appeared in newspapers, might have coined the phrase, a picture paints a thousand words.

The Southland Times