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Still Keeping the Beat

Rob Lewine ’67 has played with some of the best classic rockers since transferring from Swarthmore to UCLA’s film school his junior year.

Early Days

At UCLA, Lewine wrote and directed a film featuring then–good buddy Harrison Ford. “It was a colossal disaster,” he recalls, but Ford went on to work with Lewine on a documentary of The Doors’ 1968 tour, Feast of Friends.

New Directions

While hanging out at the home of The Monkees’ Peter Tork, Lewine “would find myself playing with people like Stephen Stills and David Crosby.” He played bass  with the Illinois Speed Press, “brother band  to Chicago,” and other groups, including early versions of The Grass Roots and Little Feat.

Pivot Point

Abandoning music in 1972, Lewine used film-school connections to begin producing classroom filmstrips for Encylopaedia Britannica. That gig evolved into a freelance photography career. “ I’ve been a photographer ever since,” he says, shooting for magazines such as Life, Time, Esquire, and Smithsonian as well as ad agencies, design firms, and entertainment and corporate clients. In 1993, he began producing stock photography for photo agencies, including Corbis and Image Source.


This spring, Lewine is launching a new endeavor, Fotoliterate. He’s encouraging corporate marketers to abandon stock photography and instead have him shoot lifestyle imagery to promote their brands. 

He’s also making music again. In 2006, with former Blues Brothers keyboardist Murphy Dunne, he formed the Enzymes with the Active Ingredients—a rock band that meets weekly to rehearse and record original material. They perform around LA in small theaters, public libraries, art centers, and for special occasions. Lewine lights up when a recent listener compares the Enzymes to the veteran roots-rock band NRBQ. Says Lewine, “NRBQ looms large for us—they’re a great, quirky band. But the Enzymes are quirky too. Maybe even more so.”