The project started as a contemplation of the architectural form of the ice shanty. But over the 10-week duration of the ice fishing season, it became much more than that. I found beauty and community, which were clear from the first day I stepped onto the ice. To share the cold and camaraderie, the wet and the silence alters one's sensibilities.

But then there was an aesthetic, environmental challenge in the shooting. There is an inherent distance when photographing on the ice: it is a long way from the shore to where the shanties are clustered and that distance is almost always a component of the photographs. Despite the distance, when I'm on the ice, I intimately feel the closeness of the community. I hear laughter and jokes, warnings, "someone's got a flag up". 

It is this contrast between the ice's big emptiness and the coziness of the shanties that I want to bring home. I wanted to convey the sense of a time that only lives a short while and then disappears entirely until the ice returns, next year.

—Mike Rebholz