Previously in advertising, Per Maning had a career change, brought about through his series of images of Leo, the family dog. This occurred in the mid-eighties and Maning’s portrayal of animals resulted in the artist gaining fame well beyond his country’s borders. Following the Leo project, Maning photographed seals (1988-1993) and cows (1989-1993). In order to earn the animal’s acceptance, he spent countless hours with them, securing a special form of contact, clearly mirrored in his pictures. Amongst his work, a black-and-white image of Oscar the seal in his aquarium, taken in 1988, is possibly Norway’s most famous photograph.
In 1997, Maning began photographing people in a series named “Selvportrett” (Self Portrait), in which he photographed the actor, Nils Slaatta, as a mirror image of himself. More recently, humans have taken centre stage in his work and his portraits and images of various body parts are widely exhibited. Per also works with video.
Presently his work, incorporated in collections, exhibits in places like MOMA in New York, Kiasma in Helsinki and the Modern Museum in Stockholm. In 1995, Maning represented Norway at the Venice Biennale and in 2007, received a photography prize.