At first glance, there’s not much to a duck blind, a structure that hunters use to camouflage themselves while waiting for birds to fly overhead. They’re humble, often small structures made of simple materials—wood, paint, nails, netting, and bits of brush or grass—and are built with efficiency in mind more than comfort or architectural flair. But, as Wade Bourne wrote in Ducks Unlimited, “There’s a lot more in a duck blind than meets the eye. There’s hard work, ingenuity, and the hopes and dreams of the hunter or hunters who built it.”
That’s what Dave Jordano discovered in the winter of 2008 when he came across a bunch of duck blinds while traveling by the Mississippi River near Illinois’ border with Wisconsin. The Chicago-based photographer had been navigating the northern part of the state looking for “out-of-the-way places, things I found odd or eccentric or quirky, places that were indicative of rural life in a sort of odd way” for his series, “Prairieland.” Intrigued by the homemade structures, Jordano spent a single day hiking along the ice photographing the duck blinds.