Long Live King Kobe
By: Spencer Ostrander, Paul Auster, Sherma Chambers - ZE Books, $40.00
Description: This book is an intimate portrait of grief, a chronicle that charts the devastation visited upon a large, multi-generational family in the wake of the senseless, random murder of twenty-one-year-old Tyler Kobe Nichols on December 23rd, 2020.
With the cooperation and full participation of the Nichols-Chambers family, photographer Spencer Ostrander was granted privileged access to the household.
Over the course of the next several months, he conducted one-on-one interviews with each member of that household along with Tylerís closest friends and, in the natural light of those settings, compiled a large dossier of photographic portraits of each person involved in the story.
Verdict: One of the great things about true crime documentaries is the ability to clearly see the effect of the crime on the people closet to the victim.
With the book Long Live King Kobe, photographer Spencer Ostrander has managed to even more comprehensively capture the aftermath of the senseless murder of Tyler Kobe Nichols through.a series of photographs and interviews with Tylerís friends and family.
The details of the tragic knife attack that took the life of a promising young man just before Christmas 2020 are left to the beginning of the story, with a heartfelt foreword by Sherma Chambers, Tylerís mother, and an additional section by Paul Auster that discusses Tylerís life, and the foundation founded in his memory, the Long Live King Kobe foundation.
The majority of the book operates under a ďless is moreĒ dynamic, with the story of Tylerís bereaved family and friends told in pictures and the simple descriptions thereof, sometimes accompanying. These photos are absolutely haunting, from the faraway stares of men and women left without a certain light in their lives, to the various ways they have chosen to remember their beloved Tyler.
One of the more striking images comes from the personal effects of Tylerís girlfriend, Ashley: A lock of his hair positioned against an open Bible. This photo alone amazingly juxtaposes the difficulty of loss with hope of not only spiritual healing but of perseverance; the physical mementos are eternal reminders for as long as they are kept.
Similarly, much is made of the candlelight vigil set up outside the Nichols-Chambers residence, spelling out Kobe. The communal healing is as important as the singular healing. And that is what the Long Live King Kobe foundation is all about. And that is the idea that this book so simply and clearly encapsulates.
Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte
About the Contributors - Paul Auster is the author of Burning Boy, 4 3 2 1, Sunset Park, The Book of Illusions, Moon Palace, Winter Journal, The invention of Solitude and the New York Trilogy among many other works. In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Liturature.
Among his other honors are the Prix Mťdicis Etranger for Leviathan, the Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke, and The Premio Napoli for Sunset Park. He has also been a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions), the Pen/Faulkner Award (The Music of Chance), and the Man Booker Prize (4 3 2 1).
He is a member of the The American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Commandeur de LíOrdre des Arts et des Lettres. His work has been translated into more than 40 languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Spencer Ostrander is a photographer based in Brooklyn. He was born in Seattle, Washington in 1984. The year he turned 21 several people close to him died, one after the other, and he realized he had no tangible images of them to fix in his memory. He began to think about the meaning of photographs.
While studying psychology in San Francisco, Ostrander received a Nikkormat 35mm as a gift from a family friend and his interest in the art became an active obsession.
He transferred to Parsons School of Design in New York City, from which he graduated in 2010. He went on to assist freelance for a variety of portrait and documentary photographers.
Although he abandoned the formal study of psychology, Ostranderís work is deeply informed by a desire to observe closely, to forge human connections, and to intimately understand the world around him. He has recently completed two other books, Time Square in the Rain and Bloodbath Nation (in collaboration with Paul Auster).
Sherma Chambers was born on the Island of St, Vincent. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 15 and has lived in Brooklyn ever since.
Sherma is the mother of three sons, Shomari, 29, Shayne, 24, and Tyler, who was murdered at age 21 on December 23, 2020. Following Tylerís death, she became the founder and director of Long Live King Kobe, a New York State nonprofit organization.
The goals of LLKK are to support the families and friends of victims of violence and to fund outreach programs for troubled youth.
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