Bringing Hummel Figurines to Life through Photography

I’ve been slowly working on this series since about 2007. Like many of my projects it began with exploration and then discovery.

The exploration began by visiting antique malls with my camera and taking photos of anything and everything I found interesting.

Photography for Youths at Risk - Hummel Boy and Camera

The discovery began when I sat down to edit several antique mall sets and noticed there were several images of Hummel Figurines in each set. The project began there.

After that I started consciously seeking out Hummel Figurines to photograph in antique wherever I’m living or visiting.

Teen Pregnancy - Hummel Doll (#67) and Her Baby Buggy

I named the series White Picket Fences.

The concept for each photo was to was to bring the viewer into a world where these little guys, and girls, are alive. Almost cinematically.

Mickey and Mallory - Photograph of a Hummel Boy and Girl Figurines

The name for each photo is meant to be a little tongue-in-cheek or naughty. Which conflicts with the whole wholesome concept of Hummel figurines and the the series title.

Hummel Boy Figurine Reading Newspaper (#184 Latest News)

Often I find having rules for a photo series allows me to create a more cohesive portfolio of images.

Which brings me to two very simple rules for the photograph in this series.

  1. The Hummels have to be photographed in an antique mall
  2. They can’t be posed or staged

Hummel Star Gazer - Peeping Tom

Those are simple rules but making the photographs can be challenging. Antique malls booths are rarely well lit and the figurines are often behind glass. I don’t like to bring a tripod in because it just gets in the way.

Hummel Boy Holding Basket With Rooster

When I first exhibited some of these images back in 2007 my girlfriend at the time thought they wouldn’t do well or sell.

She was wrong of course. Ha! Some of the photographs in this series have been popular with my collectors.

White Picket Fences Hummel Photo Portfolio Show at Matt Mikulla's Studio

I think people like them because they are fun, colorful and unique. Many comment that their aunt or grandma had or have several hummel figurines or they remember them from their childhood.