Vintage camera collector buys a camera – finds long-lost photos and a memento

July 19, 2017 5:15 pm Last Updated: July 19, 2017 5:15 pm


In the good old days, before we turned to digital devices to take pictures, you needed to develop film. This may have lead to photographs being overexposed, images overlapping, and this could have even been before photos came in color, but it is all part of the vintage charm of old-time photography.

Oregon photographer Kati Dimoff collects vintage cameras and old black and white photographs.

Often purchasing discarded rolls of film from local Goodwill stores, she hopes to collect what has been lost and forgotten to time.

During one such recent trip, she uncovered a collection of photos that not only had importance to the area’s history, but was also quite important to a local stranger.

Recently purchasing an Argus C2 camera, and having the old roll of film inside developed, she found that many of the photos depicted the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.

One of the deadliest volcanic eruptions within the United States, the incident had occurred in Washington Stone, but could be seen, and photographed, from within Portland.

“[W]hen I picked up the prints on Monday June 12th, there was a note on the package that said ‘is this from the Mt St Helens eruption?’,” revealed Dimoff after she had the photos developed, according to Gizmodo.

“Two of the shots showed a larger ash cloud, with John Gumm elementary school in the foreground (in St. Helens, Oregon).”

A local man named Melvin Purvis later identified the camera as having belonged to his grandmother, after the photos were published within “The Oregonian.”

Reportedly, one of the photos published was that of his family, including himself, his wife, their son, and his grandmother.

“The photo looked like it was taken right in front of my grandmother’s house,” Melvin.

“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.”

“My grandmother passed away in September of 1981, so that picture is one of the last I have of her,” says Melvin, according to Fox19.

Melvin’s mother, who was behind the camera, had recently just passed away—only a few days before the camera was returned to his family.

“The timing of it is remarkable,” he said.