A Look Away: Announcement

Dear readers, subscribers and fans: Over the last five and a half years I have had the joy and privilege of working closely with a multitude of wonderful people; colleagues, artists, designers, performers and writers of the highest calibre and most astounding and life-changing talent.

Starting an arts and culture magazine as a student was a challenging task but I believed in it wholeheartedly and I made a promise to myself that I would make it work. It was an exhilarating time and everything was new. Over the last few years and 15 issues of A Look Away I have had a very unique experience of the industry. I have come to know the moments of heartache and fear but also the moments of elation and excitement and the rush which is felt by all artists who put their work out for public consumption. It is a roller-coaster of emotions which is quite addictive. 

A Look Away's success over the last five years is due to the fact that we managed to keep it energetic, fun and adaptable. The magazine has evolved constantly and we have always kept to its original ethos which is to celebrate the arts and make them accessible to a wider audience in a non-arrogant way. 

The magazine has been a springboard for hundreds of South African artists. I have shared the A Look Away experience with many colleagues and dozens of students who have interned at BK Publishing. This ever-changing team of talented and open-minded individuals made the magazine a truly great project to work on. 

As with any start-up venture, there are wonderful highs and wonderful lows. We live in a country which celebrates entrepreneurship and supports first-time projects. It is easy for a young entrepreneur to feel excited. At first people support you because you are young, gutsy and innovative but very soon this becomes the basic expectation and support is earned through other avenues such as professionalism, reliable service, quality products and sound management. Great ideas and philosophies have to be married to good business principles to be sustainable.

A sober and in-depth look at our business has shown very little growth potential for A Look Away magazine, based on the resources and market support at hand.

All emerging independent magazines in South Africa face the same problems; the lack of enthusiasm and ridiculous sales targets of retailers; the lack of guts and vision from the advertising community; the lack of sustained support from readers. It is hard to make anything special last in South Africa without support from Government, the private sector and a dedicated audience.
Though it is a slightly emotional experience, my decision to indefinitely close down A Look Away magazine is a business one based on my growth strategy for BK Publishing. A Look Away was the pioneering publication of BK Publishing but it was also one of a stable of publications, projects and services that we continue to provide. Our social entrepreneurship projects like Meetse a Bophelo – The Water of Life have found a very enthusiastic and dynamic young audience and we are excited to place a more concerted effort into developing a reading culture in our disadvantaged communities by making books more easily available. This project and others like it have a wider reach and better potential to grow and through them BK Publishing is mapping the future for publishing in South Africa.

We will still remain dedicated to the arts in which ever way possible, including the promotion of careers in the arts through the employment of young freelance illustrators, designers and writers for our book and magazine projects. Our extensive experience of publishing within the arts industry means that we are in a position to help publish high-end artists' books and catalogues for artists and galleries, as well as source illustrators and artists for corporate and private projects. 

I do hope that one day in the future, with greater resources and a ready market, we will be able to come back to the South African arts industry with a publication which surpasses A Look Away in providing support to artists and great content to its eager audience. 

We are excited for the future because we have other projects on our plate which are as meaningful and endearing as A Look Away and my colleagues and I hope to receive your support in those ventures as they come to light. 

I hope that A Look Away magazine will be remembered for its promotion of independent thought, respect for the creative mind and its fundamental belief that sincere, intelligent and altruistic art has the ability to change lives, society and politics and make the world a better place.
-- 
Benoit Knox
Director / Publisher
BK Publishing 
c: (+27) 83 427 3281 
t: (+27) 12 342 4118 

f: (+27) 12 342 4117  

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