Photographer discovers Mount St. Helens eruption pics in Goodwil - KPTV - FOX 12

Photographer discovers Mount St. Helens eruption pics in Goodwill camera

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Kati Dimoff recently discovered a set of photos taken during the eruption of Mount St. Helens in May of 1980. Kati Dimoff recently discovered a set of photos taken during the eruption of Mount St. Helens in May of 1980.

Thrift stores shoppers really never know when they could uncover a priceless treasure, a lesson a Portland photographer learned after buying an old film camera with an undeveloped roll of film.

Kati Dimoff has been purchasing old film camera rolls at local Goodwill stores for years. She's always on the hunt for photos that offer her a glimpse into the past.

Her latest find offers a unique perspective of an event that shook the Pacific Northwest, the deadly eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980.

Dimoff told FOX 12 she had no idea of what she discovered when she bought the undeveloped roll of film.

"Any rolls of film that I find there I'll bring back and develop, but this one was particularly old,” she said. “It was a brand of film they haven't made in decades. The actual film itself was so degraded I just thought if there was anything on it, it might be interesting."

Anxious to find out what the photos showed, Dimoff took the film to Blue Moon Camera and Machine, a photo lab in the St. Johns neighborhood, to have them developed. When she picked them up, she realized her curiosity paid off as soon as she looked at the pictures.

"I picked up the package and there was a note on it that said they thought it was Mount St. Helens erupting, and it is."

The photos look to have been taken from Highway 30 near the Longview Bridge and show little puffs of smoke from the beginning of the eruption.

Prior to the Mount St. Helens pictures, one of Dimoff’s favorite finds was a photo taken at the Portland International Raceway she thinks dates back to the '70s or '80s. Not all of the photos she's had developed turned out to be so historic, though.

"I've been collecting film from Goodwill for a few years now," she said. "I've found all kinds of things. Pictures of people's pets. Pictures of vacations in England."

Still, Dimoff said she treasures the photos because they each tell a story, adding that she continues her hobby because she feels it's a way of preserving someone's personal history, even if they are no longer around.

"I always kind of assume that any old vintage camera that ends up in Goodwill, there's a possibility that it ended up there because someone died,” she said. "I feel like I'm saving them."

Dimoff is hoping that someone may recognize the people in the old pictures and can help her identify who they may be. Anyone with information can email her. They can also check out her website.

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