Cranberry-red state

Alumnus’ book reveals all sides of Wisconsin’s official fruit

November 23, 2015

Wayne MartinWayne Martin has lived in Minnesota most of his adult life, but the Wisconsin native hasn’t forgotten his roots. They run deep and cranberry red.

Martin, a University of Wisconsin-Stout alumnus who lives in Plymouth, Minn., recently published a book about cranberries, an aspect of Wisconsin life that he says is as iconic as cheese and the Green Bay Packers.

“Cranberries Revealed: From the Marsh to the Table” is a lavishly illustrated 84-page coffee table book that captures the beauty of the bright, tart cranberry through Martin’s vivid color photos.

The cranberry is Wisconsin’s official state fruit. About 60 percent of the nation’s cranberries come from Wisconsin, meaning there’s a good chance Badger red will show up on families’ and restaurants’ holiday tables.

Martin grew up in cranberry country in central Wisconsin, in Wisconsin Rapids, and graduated from UW-Stout in 1982 with a master’s degree in media technology. After 10 years of working as an audiovisual producer and photographer for Prudential life insurance, he has been a freelance commercial photographer for more than 20 years in the Twin Cities area.

The cover of “Cranberries Revealed” is his first book. He plunged into the project with his boots on and his cameras focused on all things cranberry. He captured bogs and workers from the water, from land and from the air, the latter from an ultralight airplane.

He also captured the cranberry whole, sliced open, frozen and cooked and ready to eat, such as stuffed into a wrap with turkey. Award-winning cranberry recipes, including from the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association and the Warrens Cranfest, are included in the book.

The book’s photos mostly were taken in what Martin calls the “red triangle” of Wisconsin, between Wisconsin Rapids, Tomah and Black River Falls, where state cranberry production is highest.

Cranberries are ready to be harvested in a bog, one of Martin's photos in the book.You go by a cranberry marsh and a lot of people aren’t even aware it’s there. And you don’t see the beautiful sea of red until the actual cranberry harvest. It’s kind of a hidden crop until then and then all of a sudden this beautiful splendor comes out,” he said in one of the many media interviews he has done since the book came out earlier this year.  

The response to the book has reaffirmed his decision to publish it, he said. It is being sold at more than 60 retail outlets in Wisconsin and Minnesota and already is in 50 libraries in Wisconsin.

Photography skills honed at UW-Stout

While working on his media technology degree at UW-Stout, Martin said he learned the craft of studio photography and how to use large-format cameras.

“Those two disciplines served me well as an in-house corporate photographer and even more so when I started my own commercial photography business in 1994,” he said.

During the 18months he was at UW-Stout working on his master’s, Martin was a graduate assistant in Instructional Technology Services under campus photographer Marty Springer.

“My real-life work experience with Marty was invaluable and gave me so many enriching, on-the-job practical and professional experiences. With my photography skills honed at UW-Stout, I was equipped to handle most any job in the commercial photography world,” Martin said.

For more information about the book, which also can be purchased online, go to www.cranberriesrevealed.com.

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Photos

Top: Wayne Martin

Middle: “Cranberries Revealed,” by UW-Stout alumnus Wayne Martin is an 84-page coffee table book.

Bottom: Martin’s book showcases the cranberry in photos, from the marsh to the table.