Photographer discovers Mount St. Helens eruption pics in Goodwill camera

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

The mystery behind some pictures developed from a decades-old roll of film has been solved.

From black and white photos taken in the early 1980s, a colorful story develops.

“And that photo looked like it was taken right in front of my grandmother's house,” said Melvin Purvis.

Over the phone from Bend, Purvis tells FOX 12 he stumbled upon the pictures when a friend shared the story about them on Facebook. Images of the Mount St. Helens eruption first caught his interest.

“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,” said Purvis. “So I said, ‘I think I know whose camera those photos came out of!’”

The article was about Kati Dimoff, a woman who’s been developing rolls of film she finds at thrift stores.

“I’ve been collecting film from Goodwill for a few years now,” said Dimoff. “I found the first roll and it had something interesting on it so I just have kept doing it.”

It’s a treasure hunt of sorts that hit the jackpot with this family photo.

“That's me, yup! More hair and quite a bit less weight than I have today,” said Purvis.

For him, there’s a focus on the meaning behind the impromptu family portrait.

“My grandmother passed away in September of 1981, so that picture is one of the last I have of her,” said Purvis.

Dimoff’s discovery has extra special meaning for Purvis. His mother – the daughter of the grandmother in that picture – just passed away.

“She died on Saturday morning, the 10th of June. And then, a few days later, this shows up out of the blue,” said Purvis. “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.”

Purvis said he was able to connect with Dimoff and she will be sending the photos to him.

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