Davis Factor is releasing his first book, “Smashbox: Make S#!+ Happen.”
It’s a collection of portraits of Hollywood celebrities — the likes of Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, Charlize Theron and Kim Kardashian — out via Rizzoli New York on Nov. 1.
Factor, who’s the great-grandson of makeup artist Max Factor, founded Los Angeles, California-based Smashbox Studios and the Smashbox brand with his brother, Dean, in the ’90s. They opened a space — which became the go-to photo facility — in 1991, before launching the brand in 1996. Born in the studio, collections were put to the test by the makeup artists and photographers that roamed the halls.
“You know, I always thought that one day it would come to me, as opposed to me going to it,” he said of the publication. His career spans more than 25 years. “And I didn’t know when it would happen, but it actually came to me.”
“’I think it’s time for you to do a book,'” he was told, approached by a colleague at The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. — which acquired Smashbox in 2010.
Showcasing his photography, the book also tells the Smashbox story.
“How it all started, what it’s all about,” said Davis Factor, now senior vice president of creative worldwide at Smashbox. “The journey, me as a photographer, then going into studios, then going into cosmetics.”
The cover is striking; scarlet red, it’s the profile of model Tatjana Patitz.
“That image just worked,” he said.
Inside, the foreword is by visionary businessman Leonard Lauder. There’s also an interview with actor Robert Downey Jr.
“Him and I had a really good conversation,” Factor said of Downey, a close friend. “And then Leonard Lauder wrote a beautiful intro to the book for me. I mean, when I read it, I’m like, ‘Oh, can I just be this person all the time?’ He said some really nice things about me.”
“Make S#!+ Happen” — which Factor describes as a motto of sorts — took a year to make. It was done with the help of creative director Doug Lloyd and Geraldine Baum, who handled the archives.
“We sent Doug a million photos, and he sent us back a layout of the book,” explained Factor. “We had three or four corrections. That was it. It was the easiest thing in the world. I wasn’t too precious with it.”
They began with 1,500 images before narrowing it down to around 200.
“It’s a lot easier of a process than I thought, because there are images that are in my mind, that I know I love already,” he said. “I didn’t torture myself.”
In the end, he simply “wanted to do something beautiful,” he said. “Something that represents me and my career.”