Over his career, Roman Zabinski used a range of cameras, including Kodak Box Brownie, Rolleiflex, Hasselblad, Nikon, Cannon, Leica and digital format. John Szarkowski at the Albright Art School inspired him to pursue photography. Szarkowski was a photographer, curator, historian, and critic who became Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, serving from 1962 to 1991. He wrote a note to Roman and his wife Marcy, “with fondest warm regards, and with special gratitude to Roman, for being a student of talent and sensitivity and seriousness, and thus helping make satisfying and worthwhile a teacher’s dubious efforts.” Zabinski also studied with Minor White in a Workshop in Creative Photography. White is recognized internationally as a master of 20th century photography.
Zabinski’s works were published in The Photographer's Eye by John Szarkowski (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1964) and Photography at Mid-Century: Tenth Anniversary Exhibition (Rochester: The George Eastman House, 1959). His work was exhibited regionally in various venues in Buffalo, Rochester, Chautauqua, and Boston, New York. He was a member of the Patteran Society, and received many local and international photography awards, including several at Western New York Exhibitions presented at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. His work is in the collection of the George Eastman House and in the Burchfield Penney Art Center. (Shale Creek, c. 1970, Ektacolor print, 19 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches, Gift of Charles Rand Penney, 1991.)
The Buffalo-born artist chronicled many of the events of the Black Rock neighborhood where his family moved in 1977. There he purchased and operated the Kolano Funeral Home. He and his wife Marcy raised five children, some of whom became artists: Nina, David, Tanya, Amy, and Julie. Zabinski was a religious person, whose faith was sometimes represented metaphorically in his work. He was granted special clearance for close proximity photographs of Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1979. Among archival items the family donated is a photograph he took of Jamie Wyeth painting Cat Bates of Monhegan in 1995. (oil on panel, 36 x 48 inches, Frye Art Museum, Seattle, Washington)