Places, Stories, Summer Series 4

By Appointment or By Chance – Mark Krajnak

Summer. The season when lingering daylight and warmer weather draw people outside to enjoy summer’s traditional events and amusements. Summer is in full swing at the offices of Rear Curtain and we wanted to share the season with stories.

Over the past several weeks we we have shared summer-related stories from different photographers. This is the last piece in that series. We hope you had a wonderful summer! Be sure to look back at the other essays in our summer series if you missed them.



By Appointment Or By Chance
F.L. Abbott Sailboats, Ocean City, New Jersey

You know how some things catch your eye, and you become affixed to them and you don’t really know why? When I was in Ocean City, New Jersey, recently on a family vacation, the F.L. Abbott Sailboats building was just such a thing for me.

The classic 1950?s structure was a block over from the Asbury Avenue house where we stayed. The first night we were there, I was walking my dogs. I could smell the nearby ocean in the humid evening air and a slight mist was rolling in. I walked the pups up to the corner and turned right toward the next block. I looked across the street and there was the building. Lettering on the side read, simply, F.L. Abbott Sailboats.

A person’s name, and what they did with their life. All the information needed. Like a young boy at a school dance, I was smitten.

The next morning, as I again walked the pups, we went up next to the building to get a look inside. I realized it (the building? the business?) was for sale. By Appointment Or Chance, the sign in the window read. Again, how classic. How quaint. I immediately started hoping Chance would come my way that week. But alas, no. The store remained empty and I was never able to get inside. I took these photos through the broad windows, that provided beautiful light inside.

I haven’t found out too much about this establishment or its owner except what I read on Mid-Atlantic Musings blog. It seems that Francis Abbott was quite a fixture in the South Jersey sailing community for damn near a half-century. I wish I could have met the man who worked with his hands and, clearly, did something he loved with his life.

The well-worn, well-used tools still hang on the pegboard. Shelves are still lined, but now dusty. A sailboat floats over the main shop floor. Broken shells out back. The salty sea is in the air. A life well-lived, apparently, and embedded in the ocean community.

By chance or appointment.

Here’s a short photostory of a man whose work, it seems, touched many in the New Jersey sailing community.

You can find more of Mark Krajnak’s work here.


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  • john macpherson says: September 2, 2013 at 9:08 am

    This is both beautiful and poignant. The light is wonderful and the atmosphere captured is simply sublime. The fact that the pictures were taken ‘through glass’ is an interesting thing, that these are ‘photos of photos’ – images that are framed by Mark’s camera yet were also ‘framed’ by the windows too. The wealth of detail is very enticing – I’d love to get in there and just handle these worn tools and run my hands across the hull of that boat, As a carpenter (and I like wooden boats too) this is a touching vignette, and a gentle tribute to craftsmanship. Lovely work Mark – curiosity and art is a great combination.

    PS my own tribute paid this week to the work of hands

  • JerseyStyle Photography says: September 3, 2013 at 6:16 am

    @John – thanks for the kinds words and insight. Much appreciated.

    I, too, enjoyed your The Final Cut words and images. Amazing what we take away from those first jobs, even years later. ~ Mark

  • […] My photography work was featured in Rear Curtain Issue 4, and currently as part of the Summer Series; on the cover of the book Spartan Negotiator; and, of course, my involvement with Bruce […]

  • […] I was very excited (and thankful) that Rear Curtain published my By Chance or By Appointment […]