Photographers Find Success Selling Rolls of Handmade “Distressed” Film

Film photography has been taking a lot of hits in the business world, but while major manufacturers continue to discontinue film production, one small company is doing the exact opposite. Revolog — a small online shop founded by photography school graduates Hanna Pribitzer and Michael Krebs in 2010 — has been finding success by selling handmade specialty film.

And while you may think that specialty film wouldn’t be a very lucrative business to enter right about now, get this: yesterday the duo announced the sale of their 10,000th roll of film.

What makes Revolog intriguing isn’t just that they’re a successful film maker in an increasingly digital world, but that we use the word “maker” (and not manufacturer) on purpose. We’re not talking about mass produced film: every roll Revolog makes and ships is “distressed” by hand, yielding all kinds of strange effects in resulting photos.

Here are some sample photos shot using the different films (note their diverse range of looks):

If you visit their webstore, you’ll have 10 different film lines to choose from, each with its unique characteristics.

Volvox yields bright green dots of different sizes all over your picture, Tesla I produces blue/white flashes, Texture shows up as a bubble-like structure in the darker portions of your images, and so on and so forth. Prices range from €7 to €8.50 (~$9-$11).

The company hopes to continue expanding its stock, adding more unique films in the near future as their business grows. If you’re interested in helping make that happen, you can visit their webstore and load up on specialty film by clicking here.

  • Rincon

    Is it too late to get in on the IPO?

  • apugli5

    There is a huge interest now days with film, it will make a comeback. As a photo student I can tell you that yes the digital medium is dominating in today’s professional industry. But there are so many young learning photographers (the ones that will eventually take over the industry) that pride themselves in shooting film as their main medium. Look at The Impossible project and lomography.

  • eraserhead12

    I agree there’s a resurging interest in film, but I’m worried that the whole lomo trend treats it like lo-fi gimmicky fun rather than anything serious. I think the impossible project is great though :)

  • DamianMonsivais

    In my college, all beginning classes are still required to use film to teach and understand the basic technical ideas of photography. Black and white and color. To understand what a good print requires and how to color balance in the darkroom .

    The commercial classes also call to use 4×5 cameras to understand swing, tilt, rise, and fall, as well as the attention to detail and lighting. If its wrong, we must re shoot on the 4×5 camera. Really slows you to think about the light and composition. They have an Imacon scanner as well to be able to use the best of both worlds or upload images to a website if your creating one.

    And there is a couple of people in the department (i.e. myself) that are using film seriously over digital technology, and not falling for the Low- Fi trend.

  • MD

    Sounds like a nice program. Mine was fairly similar, but with a bit less emphasis on how to apply those skills in the commercial world (more of a fine-art atmosphere, for better or worse).

    120 and 4×5 are incredible tools (and I hugely prefer it for all of my personal work), but all of this “lo-fi” crap just rubs me the wrong way. To each his own, I suppose, but I can’t really imagine any of this is helping to keep film alive. People are eventually going to get sick of it, and it’ll just fall back into oblivion.

    Photographers didn’t use film for all those decades because of “unpredictable results”. Indeed, most of us go to great lengths to minimize those anomalies and know exactly what our negatives are going to look like.

    Film can amazingly beautiful, but these trends just tell the public that it’s difficult and wonky, and to use digital if they want something decent.

  • Raphael Puttini

    “Photographers didn’t use film for all those decades because of
    “unpredictable results”. Indeed, most of us go to great lengths to
    minimize those anomalies and know exactly what our negatives are going
    to look like.”

    Completely agree. These “unpredictable results” would be the terror fo all professional photogs back in the film days.

  • DamianMonsivais

    Sadly yes my department does focus on commercial aspect of photography but I pushed to the other side of fine art and they helped me along as well.

    I have also noticed that the film shooters are producing higher and more complete work then the digital shooters. I know this might spur a debate but that’s what has been noticed in a large department.

  • eraserhead12

    probably a signal-to-noise thing; I feel like people interested in film–and not the low-fi crap–would all be fairly dedicated and passionate, as the process of developing is an art in and of itself.

    whereas pretty much every family has at least one DSLR, in most cases only pulled out for holiday photos lol.

  • vale1005

    Boy photographers are a snobby bunch. Wee you went to a fancy samcy school woo hoo for you. Photography can be an art. There many may styles within each medium.
    With10k sold. Somebody must like it.
    Imho, I think there is room for everybody to be a unique and individual artist. One could argue, that this film “revival” is also a phase. Everybody wants to be different. Some of us follow, different paths.

  • MD

    Exactly, eraserhead. When we were finally “allowed” to work digital, those who went to it immediately seemed to be the ones who couldn’t be bothered to master the wet darkroom.

    Photography is about craft, whether it’s technical or artistic. Someone who isn’t willing to put any effort into one side of the equation is unlikely to be much more motivated on the other.

    Another considerations (though this might just be me) is that digital gives the photographer very little motivation to make every shot great. I could never take my shots seriously when I was using digital. One can simply snap whatever they see and call it a day. When you’re shooting 4×5 C-41, every shot means $6 and an hour or more of post… you’re going to make those suckers count.

  • MD

    Unfortunately, your humble opinion that there’s room for everyone doesn’t mean anything when you’re not on the funding board of Kodak or Fuji.

    As all of us snobs have stated, anyone can do whatever the hell they want. You’re welcome to buy screwy-looking film for £11 a pop at any Urban Outfitters, but the film that *we* want to use is quickly going the way of the Dodo.

    The only piece that most of us take issue with is the complacency bred from the assumption that this kind of thing will “keep film alive”.

  • Opie

    For future reference, nothing makes you look quite so ignorant as contempt for education. Doesn’t really help your argument…just something to keep in mind.

  • DamianMonsivais


    It cost about 30 for a pack of ten plus 4 dollars of processing each.

    So its 70 dollars for 10 shots and that hurts if you dont get it right