Words by Heath Vester

“Film is a lifestyle.”

It’s a timeless tool used by photographers to capture the stories of peoples’ everyday lives, having once been the only option. Despite seeing a decline since we’ve migrated to digital formats as a culture, film is making a distinct comeback, growing in popularity among photographers who still believe in the quality and unique style it has to offer. Photographers like Josh Moates, founder of Indie Film Lab.

Indie Film Lab has been operating in the heart of Old Cloverdale, a historic neighborhood in Montgomery, for about four years now. It’s a film processing lab that functions to deliver both prints and digital copies of the highest quality.


I had the privilege of sitting down with Josh, discussing the lab and why he chose Montgomery, Alabama. He talked to me about how Indie is one of only three major film labs in the country. It offers its employees the privilege of working with artists and photographers from all over the world, to share in the telling of their stories—something Josh and his team take a great deal of pride in.

“In the beginning, I never really intended to open a film processing lab”, —he simply developed his own film and noticed other photographers were looking for that same service. Usually cities like Los Angeles and New York come to mind, but working in the South is something Josh is proud of, because it sets them apart from the rest of the industry.

“We do it because we love it,” their website boasts. They’ve made a documentary called Long Live Film, where they set out on a road trip from Montgomery to Las Vegas, meeting and talking to photographers along the way about the reasons they love using film. 

To Josh and his crew, film isn’t just a preference, it’s a lifestyle. And because of their passion, Indie Film Lab a place where these classically still, silent stories can come to life.