Meet John Maniaci

As the UW Health staff photographer, John Maniaci tells the stories of the patients, families and staff at UW Health. Meet John in words and pictures, and find out what inspires him.


What brought you to UW Health?

I was a newspaper photographer for more than 20 years and I thought I would retire as one, but I didn’t know what was waiting around the corner. A new position for a staff photographer was created at UW Health, and the chance to spend my days with inspiring patients, nurses, doctors and staff members was enough to pull me out of the world of newspapers. And I’ve never looked back.


UW Hospital and Clinics careers: Photographer John Maniaci
View a slideshow of John's photos and meet him in his own words.

What is something most people don’t know about you?


I grew up working in my parents’ restaurant. My folks ran Maniaci’s Café Siciliano, Milwaukee’s finest Italian restaurant for 25 years and I started working when I was about 10 years old. I washed dishes, bussed and waited tables and tended bar (which wouldn’t be the case nowadays!). I didn’t pick up a camera until I was 20 years old. I credit my “Intro to Photography” professor, Gary MacDonald at UW-LaCrosse, since he saw “something” in my early work and inspired me to make photography my life’s work.


What is your favorite pastime?


Cooking a huge meal for my family or a group of friends is actually one of my favorite ways to relax. I rarely pick up a camera when I’m not at work and you will find me cooking, listening to music or watching some of my favorite movies with my family. That is, when I have some rare down time.


What is your favorite part of working here?


The best part about working at UW Health is that I get to meet incredible new people every single day.


The camera is my passport into the world of thousands of patients, hard working staff members, incredible nurses and doctors and the best co-workers I’ve ever had. The people I meet in the hallways of our hospital and clinics never cease to amaze me with their spirit, positive attitudes and efforts to help every single person that walks through our doors.


If you were granted one wish, what would it be?


I wish everyone could see the strength and the fight that some of the kids at American Family Children’s Hospital show when they battle their illnesses every day. Some of these kids are in great pain every single day and they fight on, never complaining, never second-guessing and they never ask, “Why me?” They are an inspiration to me and if their attitude could be spread out into this world, I think it would be a much better place.