Along the banks of the Mississippi River on the solid ice, duck hunters set up blinds, a cover device designed to conceal, and at the same time, shelter hunters while they wait for ducks to fly overhead. Duck blinds can be as simple as a natural depression on the ground, but in Midwestern United States, they are often elaborate structures, approaching the size and function of a small cabin with amenities.
In the winter of 2008, when photographer Dave Jordano headed West from Chicago, his home base, to the frozen Mississippi he chanced upon these structures, frail from being exposed to the elements. At first glance, there’s not much to a duck blind - they’re humble, often small structures made of simple materials—wood, paint, nails, netting, and bits of brush or grass. But Dave Jordano could see the beauty in them.
“I was just really taken by the visual variety between all of them—the way each hunter picked certain materials to make their blind with and how they all came out looking a bit different,” he said. “It’s an interesting take on their own creativity and resourcefulness.”
So he set up his 39-megapixel Hasselblad H3D II to capture the blinds he liked the most. The lighting and weather conditions of the day make Jordano’s photos resemble almost like studio shots. And thanks to the time of his visit, the snow provided a wonderful neutral background like a white backdrop.
Since it was not duck hunting season, the duck blinds were unoccupied. Some of the duck blinds were padlocked, but a few were open. Inside, Jordano found empty bottles and beer cans, shell casings, food wrappers and ashtray. Many of the blinds were completely empty.
All duck blinds are registered and monitored through the Department of Natural Resources. After their purpose has been served they are required to be dismantled before the beginning of the next hunting season so permits could be issued for new temporary structures.
The duck blinds Dave Jordano photographed were probably gone the next season.
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