There’s something special about vintage cameras and old black and white photographs, which is probably why Kati Dimoff collects them.
Whenever she gets the chance, Kati looks for old rolls of film at Goodwill stores in her hometown of Portland, Oregon. Her aim is to uncover lost and forgotten treasures that are often left on undeveloped rolls of film.
And that’s exactly what happened when Kati was rummaging around in a Goodwill store recently.
She found a camera that contained an old roll from a brand of film that hasn’t been made for years. And when she had the film developed, Kati saw some unique photos that were not only taken during a special historical moment, but also contained a tender moment that meant the world to a stranger in her town.
Recently, Oregon photographer Kati Dimoff found an Argus C2 camera at a Goodwill store in Portland.
The Argus C2 was a mass-produced camera that was made in Michigan between 1939 and 1966.
The camera also contained an old roll of film inside.
Kati had the pictures developed in the off chance that they contained anything interesting. And when the roll came back, Kati was astonished to see pictures of ash billowing over Portland almost 40 years ago.
It turns out, several of the pictures were taken during the infamous 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.
The eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980 was the deadliest and most damaging volcanic eruption in the history of the United States.
The volcano is located in southern Washington State, but the smoke and ash could be clearly seen from nearby Portland, Oregon. In fact, the ash rose to 80,000 feet and spread to 11 states.
The disaster killed 57 people, and the thermal energy released by the eruption was 1,500 times of the size of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
But the roll of film didn’t just contain unique pictures from the volcanic eruption.
When Kati’s photos were published in The Oregonian, the newspaper also included a photo of a family.
Many readers wondered who the camera had belonged to. But the picture of the family and another picture of a house helped solved the mystery.
A man named Melvin Purvis was able to identify the former owner of the camera: his grandmother.
“The photo looked like it was taken right in front of my grandmother’s house,” Melvin told Fox19. “I clicked on it and I went down through the photos, and there’s a picture of my wife, my grandmother, my son, and myself.”
Since Melvin’s grandmother and mother are no longer alive, he was happy to finally see the pictures and have the last photo of them all together.
Kati sent the original photos to him.
“My grandmother passed away in September of 1981, so that picture is one of the last I have of her,” says Melvin.
Melvin’s mother, who is behind the camera, just passed away earlier this month.
“She died on Saturday morning, the 10th of June. And then, a few days later, this shows up out of the blue. I am not at all a religious person, but kind of makes you wonder a little … but it is a coincidence. The timing of it is remarkable, I guess,” he says.
Isn’t it amazing that some old black and white photos can contain such an interesting story? Share if you also think this story was fascinating!
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