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Maz Ghani was born in 1969 and moved to the US in 1995 after living in Australia and Canada. A Radiologist by training, Maz gained an interest in botanical photography several years ago while exploring his wife’s colorful gardens. He uses a combination of photography and scanography to compose the botanical layouts and is inspired by nature’s diversity. His works have been published in Travel and Leisure Magazine, Black and White Magazine along with an article “Art from the Garden” in Berkshire Magazine. His photos have been included in the SLO Museum of Art Juried Exhibition, Proud+ 2021 Juried Exhibition, the iMotif Juried Exhibition and the Contemporary Online Art Gallery.
Today’s Episode is brought to you by Doc2Doc Lending. Doc2Doc provides Match Day loans of up to $25,000 to fourth-year medical students and current residents. These loans are designed to help students cover personal expenses, such as moving costs, housing down payments, and living expenses before and during residency. With fixed interest rates, flexible repayment terms, and no prepayment penalties, Doc2Doc Match Day loans provide financial flexibility and allow students to focus on their exciting journey towards becoming a physician.
Doc2Doc was founded for doctors, by doctors. They understand the challenges and hard work involved in becoming a doctor, and they support doctors throughout their careers. Using their in-house lending platform, Doc2Doc considers the unique financial considerations of doctors that are not typically considered by traditional financial institutions. So, Don’t let financial stress hold you back from achieving your goals – Doc2Doc lending has you covered. Visit www.doc2doclending.com/mdcoaches to Learn more.
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Dr. Ghani’s Prescription for Success:
Number 1: Slow down a bit, take it all in, find a balance, and you will be happier.
Number 2: Step out of your comfort zone, and try something new.
Number 3: Be curious, ask questions.
Number 4: While medicine is to be your vocation, see to it that you also have an avocation.
Connect with Dr. Ghani:
Notable quotes from Dr. Ghani’s interview:
I was just at a loss – what would I do with my life? ” that’s what you think at age 22-23.
Radiology afforded you the opportunity to focus on everything.
Photography has become a good part of my life, and it balances out my clinical work.
My father taught me to always ask “What if?”
I wanted to stand out and create my own signature.
Photography is not a job, but it’s a joy.
I’m not the type to hide things or be secretive. I love to share.
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Access the Show Transcript Here
Transcript[0:00] And that’s where I met my wife, Kelly. She was also in med school down there.
And we met over a cadaver.
How romantic. Right? I mean, best first date ever.
Paging Dr. Cook. Paging Dr. Cook. Dr. Cook, you’re wanted in the OR.
Dr. You’re wanted in the LR. [0:27] Music. [0:51] Hello everyone and welcome to Prescription for Success. I’m Dr. Randy Cook, your host for the podcast, which is a production of MD Coaches, providing leadership and executive coaching for physicians by physicians. To overcome burnout, transition your career, develop as a leader or whatever your goal might be, visit MDCoaches on the web at MyMDCoaches.com because you’re not in this alone.
And don’t forget that CME credit is available when you listen with us.
Just look for CMFI in the show notes to learn how.
My guest today is a board-certified radiologist who likes to spend his spare time with a completely different kind of imaging.
In his case, it’s much more artistic than diagnostic. So let’s hear Dr. Mazgani tell his story.
I’m really looking forward to my conversation today with Dr. Mazgani. [1:52] Who is speaking to us from out on the West Coast, to Royal Grande, California.
Mass, thanks so much for being with us today. I’m looking forward to the conversation for a lot of reasons, but thanks for being here.
And thank you very much, Randy, for having me on today for this hopefully delightful conversation.
And I’m looking forward to sharing my story.
Well, I am looking forward to hearing it and maybe delving into your hobbies a little bit as well.
But as we always do, I’d like to talk about your early life, which is particularly interesting.
I think I’ve spoken to a number of guests who were not born in the United States, and the story of how they got here is always fascinating.
And I bet the same is going to be true for you. You were actually born in Syria, as I recall.
That’s correct. Yes, I was born in Damascus Syria oldest city in the world and back in 69 and. [2:53] Have you know extended family over there and Ended up moving, of course. Yeah about how old were you when you moved?
Well, my parents left me to move to Sydney, Australia when I was two Let me with my extended family for about three years, And then when I turned five about 1975 my family put me on a Qantas 747 jumbo jet from Damascus to Manila Philippines to Sydney Australia, when you were five five years old accompanied by my own stewardess and I still remember that flight it was very memorable did you find it frightening at all um it was frightening it was I was sad I was happy excited scared I mean There’s a multitude of feelings and emotions that come across a five-year-old’s, you know, mind at that point in time.
Time, leaving your extended family, cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents, of course. for where I was going. [3:53] But I was going on a trip, and I vividly remember Manila, Philippines.
We went out to the airport. It was very humid, hot.
And we landed in Sydney, and there was two people waiting for me.
I didn’t know who they were.
Back then, we didn’t really have iPhones and photos and whatnot, you know, that were readily available, of course.
And that was tough, letting go of Astridis, who took care of me for about 24 hours.
And now I’m with two strangers. And it was not a pretty sight. [4:26] So you had not had any significant contact with your parents during that five years?
Correct. Well, I didn’t see them.
Yeah. I don’t recall if I spoke to them through the phone. That’s, again, something that wasn’t directly available in the Middle East.
Of course. You know, and if it was, it was very expensive. And you know, between ages of two and five, you’re engulfed in family and fun and food and being, you know, spoiled and taken care of because your parents aren’t taking care of you.
So you really get whatever you want. And you know, you go somewhere far and you’re missing that family unit where now you are being, you know, taken care of by two individuals who don’t recognize your parents and are being forced to do things that you don’t want to do or you’re not allowed to do certain things.
And it was tough.
Dr. Darrell Bock I bet it was. Dr. Mike Miller And so I didn’t eat.
I didn’t want to eat.
They took me to doctors, to psychiatrists, to a number of specialists to figure out why I wasn’t eating. And of course, there’s a whole psychosocial issue with a five-year-old going to a new country to be with two new people.
So it was very difficult for me. So tell me about the language transition at that point.
I assume that you were speaking, that Arabic was your native language.
Correct, correct. Arabic is my mother tongue. [5:54] I did not know any English at the age of five. So arriving in Sydney, you know, they enrolled me in a local kindergarten and I learned, picked up on English very fast, of course.
And it was a challenge because my father worked at EMI Records, HMV, his master’s voice records.
Yeah. 12-hour shift. My mother worked at a canning factory, 12-hour shift, and they overlapped.
And I was kind of on my own between them, you know, between school and having a parent or not having a parent that left me alone sometimes.
You know, this is 1975, right? Yeah. So it wasn’t a big deal.
Maybe have a friend come over to watch you. And you know, my father ended up getting Lego sets, and I fell in love with the whole Lego system and building and creating and designing and whatnot and that kept me busy throughout the years that I was there, the five years I lived in Sydney.
And I loved Sydney. I loved the city and the friends and whatnot.
Of course, you end up forgetting about your life in Syria.
Yeah. And I was just going to ask you about how long, if you have any conception of it now, about how long did it take before that began to feel normal?
Well, you know, based on conversations with my parents, who are both now deceased, It took about six months for me to really come to being a quote normal five-year-old kid. [7:21] Who would just watch cartoons and play outside and and eat on a regular basis?
Yeah about six months and um I ended up going back to syria with my mother back when I was seven to kind of react when they reunite with some family, They wanted me to stay in touch with my culture with my of course heritage and whatnot It was very important. And at home, we only spoke Arabic. There was no English at home.
That was forbidden because they wanted to make sure that I spoke Arabic for life.
Which I do and I’m very grateful. I think that’s wonderful and I bet it really does mean a lot to you, It really does. Yeah, but then uh There came a decision to move to canada. What was that all about? So my mother. [8:06] Had asthma and the weather in sydney was not very um, Ideal for her. It was very humid the summers were just hot her asthma was getting worse. So they decided to move to a cooler drier climate and they applied to visas in the US and Canada. The US denied them the visa, Canada accepted and they ended up taking it. Well they certainly found a cooler place. They did, absolutely. June 14th 1980 we packed up our goods, 12 old suitcases without wheels and I remember those and my mom dad and myself got on a plane and flew to Vancouver. And that was an experience. And we stayed there for about a week, just to kind of, you know, do a little tourist activities and look around and whatnot.
And then we boarded a train from Vancouver to Toronto. CN Rail went through the Rockies and the prairies. Really pretty, just gorgeous, gorgeous. I’d love to do that again sometime.
And that was a five-day adventure across Canada and ended up in Toronto. Didn’t know anyone.
And I took a cab, went to a hotel, and my father started looking for an apartment, which we found. [9:23] Almost within a day or two. Moved in, they enrolled me in school. It was now late June.
Next thing I remember, it’s snowing in September. I’m like, what is this white stuff that’s coming down? And again, you were about what age were you at that point? I was 10, you know, and I just I just spent five years in Sydney where it’s hot.
You spend Christmas on the beach, right? Because it’s summertime.
And that was a big shock.
It was cold and new school. And it was another challenge, right?
I mean, acclimating to a new country, new life.
Of course, I was bullied because I had an accent. You were different, yeah.
I’m different. Not only am I Middle Eastern, my name’s different, but I also have an Aussie accent, too.
Yeah. So, you know, just layer on layer of issues, you know, that, for you.
It was… [10:17] Part of the adventure, I guess, you know, when you look back at your life, whether it’s good or bad It’s still part of the adventure and part of our journey and it sounds like there were not really any medical types in your family So I’m I’m wondering where the interest in medical school came from. Well, actually my mother’s side. She has cousins in. [10:38] Cleveland at the Cleveland Clinic that oh really physician surgeons ENT dermatology optho. So a number of physicians on my mother’s side, no one on my father’s side.
And when my parents arrived in Toronto, we settled down there. My father took a job with Seiko watch companies. He was a shipper receiver, and he had trained as an accountant. That was his college degree. And my mother’s a college dropout. She went to college for a year and a half, and then she got married at 21. And then she worked at Burger King, right? So that’s what what they did. And they were, we were struggling and they really did not want me to struggle.
They wanted me to have a better life. I think they groomed me, especially my mother groomed me to going to medicine. That was sort of a constant conversation, not even law or engineering or any other profession, medicine and specifically surgery. Not sure why, but she thought that surgeons were kings in her mind.
I wish that were true. And, you know, when it came down to it, when I did end up going, I’m going to skip ahead a little bit here, going into radiology, she thought that was the worst decision I could ever make being a radiologist. [11:53] He said, all you’re going to do, you have no respect.
No one’s going to respect you just taking x-rays all day. I said, you know, let me, you know, kind of educate. Yeah, And I can understand how yeah a lot of people who don’t have any direct experience. [12:08] With medical practice might think that of course, uh, and and i’m sure we’re going to talk later about the details of your, radiology career, but uh, i’ve sidetracked you just a moment. Sorry. Yeah, i’m. [12:21] I want to get you back into uh how you actually got yourself into medical school.
Growing up in Toronto, we moved a couple of times and I was bullied constantly because of my name, because of the fact I was Middle Eastern and because of certain cultural differences.
My parents were stricter in certain regards, no girlfriends, no partying, no drinking.
And there is, of course, cultural pressures on my end where I rebelled and I got kicked out of the house at 16 because I had a girlfriend, you know, and literally kicked out for a week, went to my friend’s house, and that was an experience. [13:04] But, you know, I wanted to put into two communities, right? My parents’ community and my friends’ community.
And it was a challenge, culturally.
I bet it was. Lots of great literature has been published about exactly that subject, and I’m fascinated to hear you talk about it.
Yeah, but I hid my, you know, things I did out of my house. Well, I, you know, I did a lot of things that my parents don’t know about.
And because I was 16 and 17 and 15, and that’s what I, that’s what you do at that age.
You kind of, you experiment.
Every teenager on the planet is doing exactly that. It sounds like it was a little more challenging for you.
Right, I’m still here, right? Nothing happened to me.
You know, I survived in that world and that’s okay. [13:54] Today’s episode is brought to you by Doc-to-Doc Lending. Doc-to-Doc provides matchday loans of up to $25,000 to fourth-year medical students and current residents. These loans are designed to help students cover personal expenses such as moving costs, housing down payments, and living expenses before and during residency. With fixed interest rates, flexible repayment terms and no prepayment penalties, Doc-to-Doc Match Day loans provide financial flexibility and allow students to focus on their exciting journey towards becoming a physician.
Doc-to-Doc was founded for doctors by doctors. They understand the challenges and hard work involved in becoming a doctor and they support doctors throughout their careers.
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So don’t let financial stress hold you back from achieving your goals.
Doc-to-Doc Lending has you covered. Visit www.doctodoclending.com slash MDCoaches to learn more. [15:13] Hi, I’m Rhonda Crowe, founder and CEO for MDCoaches. Here on RX for Success, we interview a lot, great medical professionals on how they grew their careers, how they overcame challenges, and how they handle day-to-day work. I really hope you’re getting a lot of great information.
But if you’re looking for an answer to a specific problem, management or administration challenge, or if you’re feeling just a bit burnt out, like maybe you chose the wrong career, well, then there’s a faster way to get the help you need. No, it’s not counseling, it’s coaching.
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Visit us at mymdcoaches.com to schedule your complimentary consultation.
Again, that’s MyMDCoaches.com, because you’re not in this alone. [16:14] We’ll get back to our interview in just a moment, but right now, I want to tell you a little bit about Physician Outlook.
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And Prescription for Success listeners can get three months free when you enter our promo code RX4SUCCESS and select the monthly option at checkout. That’s a really great deal on this stunning publication. And now let’s get back to today’s interview.
Let me ask you, first of all, what was life like at the university level? Did it begin. [17:29] To smooth out a little bit in terms of the feeling of being the other, or was it just the same all the way through your education?
No, I think once I started university at 18, I think my life opened up to so many opportunities socially, academically, professionally. That’s when I first started volunteering at a local hospital in the emergency department to see if I enjoyed, you know, the medical field as its most superficial, you know, aspect. That’s pretty smart. Volunteering at an ED, right? Yeah. You’ve got the pace, you’ve got the Smells the feel the vibe, And is this something I want to really want to be in and that was sort of the deal i’ve made with my mother Let’s see if I like it or not first. Yeah. [18:13] And I majored in biology with a minor in business and I thought you know That would provide me an opportunity to become a teacher or to go to grad school or to go into a number of other professions Potentially so I wanted to keep my doors open. Well, that sounds like a pretty good plan Yeah, and uh, and I also wanted to make my parents happy, right? That was sort of, that’s in me. I mean, I didn’t want to disappoint them.
So I wanted to kind of keep things open, uh, even though I was a rebel at times and I told her, you know, I, I’d never want to go into medicine because you keep forcing me to go into medicine.
I just, I’m not going to do it. I’m going to go do something else. [18:51] But you did. Yeah, I did. And, you know, uh, academically in high school, it was awful the first three years.
And in Ontario we have 13, grade 13, right? Not just grade 12. So in Canada, you have college University, grade 12, you end up going to college with a two or three year program.
Grade 13, you end up going to university, which is the standard four year program.
And it wasn’t until grade 12, grade 13, when I started excelling academically, but university was horrendous. It was awful. I really didn’t enjoy my classes.
I didn’t like organic chemistry And I graduated by I think at 2.4 or 2.5 GPA, which is interesting. Yeah, it’s awful I mean who was not all that but but it’s hard to get into medical school with that. Let’s face it, Exactly, and you know, I was just at a loss. What would I do with my life? [19:49] I’m just a failure. You know, that’s what you think at the age of 22 23 So I ended up applying to med school throughout the U.S., throughout Canada, rejections all the way around.
I was trying to look for other ways to get into medical field, healthcare-related field.
I applied to dental school and school of chiropractic.
I did get accepted into Case Western Reserve University, dental school, and Temple University.
But ultimately, after a lot of soul searching, I really didn’t want to be a dentist.
That is really fascinating. Just not what I want to do.
They got into orthodontics which was different but that’s another sort of Challenge in and of itself and chiropractic. I just didn’t feel like it was, you know, kind of satisfy my mother’s, Craving for me to be a physician because it wasn’t a real doctor to her So I had a friend who was a year ahead of me at the University of Toronto, Who was in the same boat pretty much applied to med school throughout the US and Canada did not get in Ended up going to a Caribbean medical school Ross University Mm-hmm, and he came back home after the first his first semester and said this is the real thing. I’m in med school now and. [21:02] Anatomy and chemistry and whatnot and I said you’re joking this doesn’t you know, it’s funny because, It’s not a real school. Is it?
It actually is and He said why don’t you apply?
So I applied I went to New York City because that was their headquarters back then in, In 1993, September, I interviewed, and a month later, I got the acceptance letter to go to Ross University School of Medicine with a 2.4, 2.5 GPA.
I ended up graduating number two in my class. I was just going to say that turned into a magna cum laude.
Exactly. And because I loved it, I loved everything about it.
The body, the human body, I loved the organization of systems.
I love memorizing, thinking about disease processes.
I mean, everything you can think about in medicine was fascinating to me.
And it had never been presented to me in that way, right? Sure.
You know, I spent the first two years down there in basic sciences, and that’s where I met my wife, Kelly.
She was also in med school down there, and we met over a cadaver. [22:12] How romantic. Right? I mean, best first date ever, right?
And a mutual friend actually introduced us, and my wife, you know, and I hit it off and ended up coming back to the U.S. to do our clinicals.
We took our step one. I got, you know, a great score, so I got the hospitals of my choice for Ross University.
I ended up in the Hopkins system for most of my core rotations through the third year.
Good place to be. Yeah and it was six of us from Ross and six Hopkins students rotating at the same time and we worked our butts off.
Because we knew we had to really show them that we knew our stuff.
And the attendings really couldn’t tell the difference between our students and the Hopkins students.
Yeah, I’m not surprised at that. I mean, my observation has been that people who really excel, regardless of where they happen to be training, are just always top-notch people, and it sounds like you were in that crowd.
But in any case, tell us more. I want to know how this Finally evolved into this dreadful possibility of radio radiology that, Such an awful thought for your mom. It really is really is so, you know, we finished. [23:38] Four years of med school and graduated and applied to a three-year internal medicine residency because that was sort of, Basic, you know well-rounded residency I can move on to some specialty if I wanted to. But I really enjoyed my radiology rotation in med school and nuclear medicine rotation and I ended up also applying to radiology as well just in case you know I got in that would be great. Yeah. So I applied I got into my first choice radiology residency which was a Tufts Hospital in Springfield Massachusetts Bay State Medical Center and I wanted something that wasn’t too academic or too small. I wanted something that was clinically oriented but had an academic affiliation. I ended up doing my internal medicine internship at the same hospital I did my core rotations because I enjoyed it there. I knew the attendings.
It just made sense.
Mm-hmm, and I kind of you know, it was a good year, but I didn’t enjoy it, right? I didn’t enjoy ICU I really didn’t enjoy clinic. It was just I just wanted to get through the year basically, and At the same time my wife was applying to pathology and she applied to Bay State and got her first choice as well so we ended up being a Bay State Medical Center together for our residencies, which was ideal and. [24:56] We had a a two-year-old son at that time. So it was certainly a challenge to do two residencies and have a toddler. And we moved to Springfield, Massachusetts and the four-year residency was outstanding. All the way around academically, clinically, teaching, and ended up being a chief resident. And that was a wonderful experience as well. You know, did a couple of nationwide presentations at the major society meetings. Won a Rankin-Ray fellow award, residence fellow award as well. So So a few accomplishments along the way, but the bottom line is I think I enjoyed what I was doing, right? Sounds like.
I think that’s the key because you can do a residency and kind of say, well, yeah, it’s great, it’s great money, but I don’t really enjoy it.
And for me, it was really about learning disease processes and doing some procedures and not being focused on one body system or body part, right? Radiology afforded you the opportunity to focus on everything. You bet.
Yeah, I’m with you on that one. This idea of specializing in one single body system. [26:05] Was something that I just never could wrap my head around, because it just, it seems confining to me and it sounds like you were having some of the same issues.
Absolutely, and so I ended up applying to fellowship during that time and I wanted to do a body imaging fellowship, that was my goal, because I wanted to keep, again, stay broad, but have additional training in CTM or ultrasound.
I ended up choosing Boston Medical Center, Boston University.
I enjoyed my interview. The department was well run.
It wasn’t too academic, but it was academic enough with a good dose of clinical work, as opposed to Yale, which was a little bit more academic, Mass General, a little bit more academic, not something I wanted to really pursue.
So, that was a wonderful year as well.
Had some great fellows and great residents, and it was time to look for a job.
And it appears to me that you looked in exactly the right place.
Pretty sure the Berkshire area of Western Massachusetts is exactly where God lives, And that’s where you went to practice, right?
Absolutely. Yeah, and so I reached out to my previous chairman and program director at Bay State to see if there was any. [27:21] Job openings in the area and they offered me a job there at Bay State Which I was very grateful for of course But I said honestly, I made a pact myself that I’m not going to practice where I trained just for me I just didn’t want to do that because I was a resident there. I wanted something different I want something where I wasn’t known at that time the group in in the Berkshires, the Berkshire Medical Center was, had dissolved for a number of reasons.
And a new group had come in from Michigan to take over and they were looking for radiologists.
And I was applying in November, ended up interviewing about January, went out to Berkshire Medical Center, interviewed with the group, and they were not established yet because they had just come in.
So they were trying to figure out department and systems and whatnot.
And they hired me on the spot, straight out. I would start July 1st.
How’d you feel about that? Was it kind of exciting knowing that you might get to be in on the architectural construction of this practice or were you worried that, you know, will they survive or will they not? What was in your mind at that point?
No, I was very excited. I was ambitious, especially after meeting with the three directors there.
They were gung-ho about getting this practice off the ground and building an amazing group. [28:40] And in retrospect, I’m glad I was there because we built an incredible group and had really minimal issues.
We grew from five to 10 radiologists over time and had minimal issues over the years that we spent together 18 years.
Do you know how practically unheard of that is?
Oh, I know. I absolutely know that, especially after speaking with colleagues and friends across the country. [29:06] Not just radiology, but other practices, and what not that have issues upon issues and lack of stability. And we were a family, if you think about family structure, family dynamic, we were co-owners of this family, and even the spouses were cohesive. [29:30] And the kids and it was just a really ideal situation to be in and I knew it was a great group because when I asked or requested I work part-time my second year, they said, of course, that’s not a problem. That’s a great setup.
I worked 10 days on, 18 days off for the year and they were very accommodating.
I mean, that’s unheard of, right?
Yeah, I was just going to say, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a school like that.
That’s just absolutely amazing.
It is amazing. The only caveat is that it would push back my partnership by six months, which is fine. Not bad.
It’s a great story, which I really appreciate you sharing with us.
In spite of the little Shangri-La that you built for yourself in the Berkshires, now, you decided to go to the other coast. What was that all about?
Well, after working for 18 years, I still loved my job. I love my job now, but our son moved out when he was 18.
He moved to LA and, um, it was very difficult for my wife and I to, to be on the East coast while he was on the West coast, once or twice a year. [30:42] And family is key for me. Family health, very important.
And, uh, so we had started looking as soon as he left us, we’d started.
Researching, you know, where would you want to move to retire live?
I started researching every single country in the world pretty much a region and whatnot and we came down to three, areas that we would like to potentially live in and one was, New Zealand. I have an Australian passport citizenship. So that would be easy for me to move there. [31:17] The other place was Victoria British Columbia because of its microclimate as my wife is a gardener It would be ideal for her to garden there most of the year and it would be easy for me to move there because of my Canadian citizenship.
And the third area was actually where we are right now because we had visited here when my son went to move to college. We came out here and spent about a week up here in the community and we loved it.
The proximity to the ocean, proximity to the mountains, size, amenities, proximity to our sun.
So we decided to revisit Arraya Grande and ended up getting a realtor and finding a house.
Yeah, sounds like you landed in exactly the right spot.
And is your practice, is your radiology practice entirely telemedicine-related, or do you, tell me how that’s working.
Yeah, so I work for a teleradiology company, Virtual Radiology, based in Minnesota, and it is entirely teleradiology.
I no longer wanted a hospital-based practice. [32:33] I had done all the procedures I really wanted to do. Yeah.
Politics drama that were coming along with a hospital-based scenario I didn’t want anymore, even though my group was fine, but there’s always other things with administration and whatnot that go along with it.
So when I really wanted to transition into kind of a semi-retirement phase, really travel a little bit more, get into the photography, the art process a little bit more.
And so I thought that was a natural transition. And also my group was undergoing some changes, that were not some new people coming on board that younger generation that just didn’t fit the vibe of the group.
So I just, I felt like it was a good time to make a plan to move on.
Well, Maz, I’ve really enjoyed hearing about your clinical endeavors, but I’m quite interested in your avocational interest, being an avid photographer myself.
I wanna know everything there is to know about your photography hobby, so why don’t we start by hearing how you got interested and being a photographer.
Absolutely, yeah, you know growing up my father was an avid photographer and. [33:57] Was a traveler throughout Europe in his younger ages and. [34:04] He he would share his photos with us growing up and and it wasn’t until I was in my late 40s when I, started taking photos Walking through my wife’s vegetable flower garden she’s an avid gardener and I was enamored by the variety of colors, shapes, textures in the garden and just using my phone camera I just started taking pictures and slowly after experimenting with time of day, experimenting with a variety of colors and techniques, I would post these online and friends and family would comment asking about how I took these photos, are prints available for sale, and at that point in time I thought to myself maybe I do have something here with regards to photography, expanding my photography selections and techniques, and I started researching online looking at you know, what was out there with regards to equipment and played around with Primarily flowers, that was my interest. I ended up acquiring a couple of cameras and a light box and a high-resolution Epson scanner.
Which allowed me to produce a diverse array of portraits. [35:30] Floral portraits, botanical portraits, that I was able to share with others.
That hobby has really become a good part of my life and it’s balancing out my clinical work.
I mean, prior to this, prior to six years ago, I didn’t have this in my life and really struggled to find a passion to counter my clinical work and stressors that come with it.
And photography has been a wonderful addition to not just my hobby, but also to income with regards to potential income, you know, selling prints and selling a variety of items that that people have requested with these photos.
I have a feeling that the potential income source came about largely because these images are really unique.
And I don’t know what you can tell us that I and other people who haven’t used this kind of equipment. [36:41] You know, I don’t know if we’ll really understand the details, but I would really like to know if you think you can tell us how you arrived at this just incredible, this stunning quality of floral images that I’ve just never seen anywhere.
Well, if you look at the images with the black background, for example, most of those are, obtained on the Epson scanner in a dark room.
And the flowers are laid face down on the scanner. Of course, there’s a number of barriers to obtaining this image.
Number one being insects that crawl out of the flowers. I didn’t even know were there.
So I scan, I’m like, what is this thing that’s moving around?
And bees and ants.
And the other issue is pollen, because pollen is almost invisible to the naked eye.
But when you take a picture of pollen, it is fascinating. And initially, I was cleaning up the exposed scanner portion to get rid of the pollen.
But then I found that pollen really added a component and a sense of reality to that floral images, to some of my compositions. [38:06] So I decided to leave the pollen in because it was something special about it, because it made it real, right?
You can take a picture of flowers, but to add pollen to it, it was incredible in my eye.
I think that’s something that only a genuine, congenital, genetically programmed artist would think of.
I mean, I think the average person would think, oh, I’ve made a mess and try to go back and, do it all over again.
Did you have the feeling that you were doing something out of the ordinary when you made that decision?
I did. And, you know, my father taught me to always ask, what if?
What if you do this? What if I added this or took this out? So I started asking myself, what if I just kept it in, what would it look like?
What if I add different flowers?
I think initially there was a little bit of a shock and hesitation of using it. [39:09] But that was a very transient moment in my mind, which led to the acceptance of pollen and other sort of natural debris process that was occurring with the flower. To keep that in there because I think it added something that I hadn’t seen before in floral photography or floral art.
And I wanted to create something whimsical, something unusual. You know, you see, you can You can scour the internet, Google flower photography, you’ll see flower photographs on and on.
I mean, I didn’t want that. I wanted something different.
I wanted to stand out and create my own signature. And of course, I researched other floral photographers and their techniques and used that as inspiration to what I could do.
But I didn’t want to copy them. I wanted to emulate them and try to create my own process and style.
And that was a challenge for me because unless you do it over and over again and do it many. [40:16] Times, it’s really hard to come down on a particular style.
But also I didn’t want to get stuck in one particular style.
I wanted to keep myself open, my techniques open, and to grow from there.
So if you look at my early works and comparing it to now, I have a totally different style on my Instagram page that I’ve transformed into.
I’m trying new techniques.
I’m trying more close-up views, angled views of individual flowers as opposed to a portrait of multiple flowers.
And I also noticed that certain flowers don’t work well with others.
For example, sunflowers, it’s very difficult to photograph them with other flowers.
They do well on their own. So if you look at my sunflower photography, they’re always on their own.
And that’s just the way it’s been for me as opposed to wildflowers or zinnias, you know, the black background with the colorful zinnias on there.
Because if you place one zinnia in the middle, it just doesn’t do anything for me. [41:20] Needed to have that variety of color and texture to really blossom. Pun intended.
You know, you said something that makes me wonder. You said words to the effect that you saw something that others might think is a mess, but you saw something else.
To me, that says that the artist’s eye is truly different from some others.
But I’m wondering if you think, is it that ability of you to see things in a different way that made you a better radiologist?
I try to separate radiology and photography. I know there’s a lot of overlap, if you think about the basics of techniques and the basics of image processing and image capture and whatnot.
But I really in my mind like to separate them because I just don’t want that overlap in my mind because although both bring me, I won’t say joy, Radiology is you know job, but I enjoy it. Yeah, but photography is not a job, but it’s a joy, Well that makes plenty of sense to me and and and but what I’m saying is that I can tell you that I would be a lousy radiologist And I can’t tell you how many times. [42:43] That I’ve looked at the same film that the guy right next to me was looking at the radiologist was looking at and he saw things that I couldn’t see. So I’m wondering if you think that that part of your appreciation of visual things, in addition to making you a good radiologist, also contributed to you being a good good artist. [43:06] Absolutely, I think there is a commonality between my visual discrimination for a three millimeter nodule in a lung field with the fact that there’s this pollen that’s scattered over an image.
I think there is some similarity, commonality between those two topics or scenarios.
And I think, for me, it’s very comfortable to work as a radiologist, it’s my job, I enjoy it.
But it’s very comfortable for me to take a photograph, compose an arrangement, which, can be very time-consuming, by the way.
These things can take about four to five hours to do a final composition, from the harvesting of the flower from the garden to the final processing of the image.
But clearly both of those disciplines give you a great deal of satisfaction, self-satisfaction. [44:07] For totally different reasons, wouldn’t you say?
That’s correct. Absolutely. And the satisfaction I get from radiology is not just the enjoyment of reading a case, making a diagnosis, but also helping a patient, helping the clinician take care of that patient.
And I feel like I am satisfied with regards to what I’ve done.
I’ve accomplished something and I’ve helped someone.
That’s a goal for me. With photography, I think there is a degree of satisfaction. [44:41] Where I feel good about what I’ve accomplished in the composition, but I also love sharing and discussing the art mutually.
So if I’m discussing it with another artist, for example, I will ask plenty of questions about their techniques, whether it’s painting, whether it’s drawing, photography.
And I will gather data information with regards to how they’ve done things and maybe incorporate that into my techniques.
And I would hope that they would ask me questions.
I’m not the type to hide things or be secretive. I love to share my techniques because I think we can all grow in the world of art and the world of medicine if we share things with each other.
Other. That’s fascinating and the images really are stunning and a little bit later on I’m going to ask you to share with the audience where they can find your images. You got a great website for that purpose. But at this point what I’d like to do Maz is simply get out of your way for a moment and do what we came here for. So audience I’m going to close my mic and for just a few minutes Dr. Mazgani is going to share his personal prescriptions for success.
So my personal prescription for success, you know, a number of things come to mind. [46:04] With regards to advice and inspiration. Advice and inspiration are an ever-changing topic and will depend on a number of variables as we go through life. I divide it up into three segments.
Growing up, my parents and close friends were my biggest advisors and source of inspiration.
During medical training and practice, I sought out advice from my colleagues and was inspired by others in medicine to provide the best possible care for my patients.
And currently my Act III of photography and art centers around inspiration from nature, my wife, my son, and the arts community. With regards to the best advice that I’ve heard… [46:45] Received really advice is ubiquitous it really has to be filtered down because it’s based on an individual’s own life experience and it boils down to my father’s advice do what you like and if you don’t like it try something else.
Which regards to looking back at ten years ago what would i tell myself three things i would tell myself first slow down a bit take it all and find your balance and you’ll be happier.
Be mindful of how much time you’re spending at work and the compounding stressors associated with it and ensure that you are present for your family and health.
These are the foundation of who we are and will ultimately be the stepping stones to what comes next as we cultivate new challenges.
Step out of your comfort zone, which is medicine in my case, and try something new.
You spend a good portion of your life in the microcosm of medicine, spending time with like-minded people, doing similar daily routines, and spilling on the same cogwheel. Yes, you may listen to music, but have you ever dreamt of creating music? [47:47] You visited art galleries and museums, however, why haven’t you taken an art class, ceramics, or photography class? You enjoy eating at nice restaurants, take some gourmet cooking lessons, write some poetry, even challenge yourself to write novel. These extracurricular activities will likely improve your mood and reduce anxiety, potentially leading to more enjoyable work experience. We practice the art of medicine, but we don’t enjoy art for art’s sake. Be curious. Ask questions. Each question will open up new possibilities and opportunities. And finally, a quote from William Osler, while medicine is to be your vocation or calling, see to it that you also have an avocation. [48:29] Some intellectual pastime which may serve to keep you in touch with the world of art, of science, or of letters.
Begin at once the cultivation of some interest other than the purely professional.
The difficulty is in a selection, and the choice will be different according to your tastes and training.
No matter what it is, but have an outside hobby. [48:51] Thank you, and it’s been a great honor getting to tell my story and answer such engaging questions.
Questions. Thank you so much for the opportunity.
Well, Maz, it has really been a pleasure hearing your story, and we’re grateful that you were able to be here and share with us.
I’m really impressed by your prescriptions. Go slow, be curious, and have an avocation.
Well, there’s a lot of wisdom there, and I appreciate you being here to share with us.
I want to give you an opportunity to tell the audience where they can find you and where they can find your art.
Absolutely. Thank you, Randy. My website is mazgani.com. I’m also on social media at maz underscore gani, instagram and facebook mazgani photography, And you can always reach out to me at hello at mazgani.com if you have any questions, Or want to discuss photography or medicine or life?
Well, Mads, this has really been a terrific conversation, which I have enjoyed immensely.
And once more, thank you so much for being with us.
Thank you, Randy, for the opportunity. I really enjoyed it myself.
Thank you so much for listening with us today.
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That link is in the show notes. And we hope you’ll also follow our companion podcast, Life Changing Moments, with Dr. Dale Waxman. Special thanks to our producer, Craig Clausen, our promotions manager, Marianna Rotabaugh, and to Ryan Jones, who created and performs our theme music. And remember, be sure to fill your prescription for success with my next episode. [50:51] Music.