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2 Minutes with...Jeffrey Caren M.D.

His taste for wildlife has taken him to locations around the globe, but his prey is caught with a camera and mounted in photographs throughout the medical center. Cardiologist Jeffrey Caren has been shooting wildlife and landscapes for 30 years, and takes two minutes to explain his focus on polar bears, sunrises and, yes, even ever-present pharmaceutical reps.

How long have you been taking photographs?

I started taking photos while I was in the Army, stationed in Giessen, Germany. Cameras were very inexpensive in the post exchange. Since then I've been shooting landscapes, nature themes and wildlife around the world, including many parts of Canada, national parks and the American Southwest. In Africa, I shot the "Big 5" -- lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhino. I have also taken photos of grizzly bears, black bears and polar bears. I've been within four feet of a grizzly bear, although not on purpose.

Where can we see your photos in the Medical Center?

I donated some of my photos to Cedars-Sinai, and they are currently displayed on 5 North in the Pro Tower. You can also see my photos in the hallways in the East and West Medical Office Towers.

Do you think of yourself as a cardiologist first, then as a professional photographer, or vice versa?

That's an interesting question. I think of myself as a person with varied interests, and I don't define myself by one profession or another. I will tell you this, though -- I don't do bar mitzvahs or weddings!

Your wife, Judy, is also a photographer, isn't she?

Yes, but Judy and I have an agreement: she shoots Canon and I shoot Nikon so there is never any competition for the lenses. We love to travel and, typically, Judy and I will go to some location, get up at 4 a.m. to catch the sunrise, then shoot until 8 a.m. and have a picnic breakfast in the field.

(Editor's note: Judy Dolan-Caren is a nurse manager on 5ICU and 8SICU in the Saperstein Critical Care Tower.)

You have quite an outstanding pharmaceutical pen collection. Why?

I am uncomfortable with a pharmaceutical rep coming to my office and attempting to educate me about drugs when they are employed to market the product. The process is biased. Unfortunately, I like the pens they bring. I've collected more than a thousand. It took Judy and me one Saturday afternoon to mount them in a display in my office. I call my collection "Some Kind of Persuasion." It's really meant to trivialize the process. In my mind, the encounter is reduced to a $1 pen.

Does it work?

No. Now they just bring me more pens.