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A Lifetime of Images

Camera in hand, Kalman Zabarsky celebrates 40 years at BU


Listen to Kal Zabarsky’s thoughts on photography and see some of his images in the slide show above.

There’s dedication to place and profession. Then there’s Kalman Zabarsky, who celebrated 40 years with Boston University’s photography department August 5.

“I was thinking, this is two score — you know, like the Lincoln speech, four score and seven years ago,” says Zabarsky, who has photographed events and people from Vietnam War protests to students hanging at the BU Beach to 40 Commencements and can often be found hunting the campus in his photo vest searching for BU Today’s next Close Up. “So it’s almost epic in proportions.”

Zabarsky grew up two blocks away from the Charles River Campus, on Thatcher Street. He’d wander down Comm Ave to Kenmore Square, where the Citgo sign read Cities Service and the Green Line trolleys were orange. His mom worked at the College of Fine Arts, and the allure of tuition remission drew him to enroll as a painting major.

“I bought a camera to take slides of my paintings, and since I had the camera in my hands, I started taking pictures of things around me,” says Zabarsky (CFA’69), who first started as a darkroom technician at BU Photography before being sent out to shoot “little things.”

After 40 years, he still finds surprises around campus. One day last year, he was laying face down along the sidewalk in front of the College of Communication. “I saw just the “go” of the Citgo sign sticking out from behind SMG,” he says, “and then I saw the lights changing from green, yellow, and red, and I had to get that shot.”

He met his wife, Kerry Loughman (COM’74), at BU and will have the chance to take pictures of his son, Asa (CFA’13), at Matriculation in September. Asa follows in his father’s footsteps, literally and figuratively: he will major in painting.

Zabarsky plans on documenting University life for years to come.

“It’s hard to look back at my time here, because a summation is usually at the end,” he says. “This isn’t the end. It’s like asking me to pick my favorite photos. They haven’t been taken yet.”

Kimberly Cornuelle can be reached at kcornuel@bu.edu.


One Comment on A Lifetime of Images

  • Jay Halfond on 08.05.2009 at 3:49 pm


    Forty years! Very impressive — he literally knows what lurks in every corner and closet at Boston University — he’s seen, and photographed, it all. Perhaps now it is time for him to learn a few new jokes to tell :).

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