It’s not often I recommend something unreservedly but if you’re a non-WordPress-expert and want something beyond the generic themes (not that there’s anything wrong with them), the theme underlying this blogsite, Typology from Meks, is sweet. Choosing a WordPress theme is a minefield and amateurs like me struggle with both understanding a theme’s specific features and then implementing it. What I enjoyed about the Typology theme was how the documentation clarifies what decisions must be made within the theme and those made in the general WordPress settings.
Typology is deliberately designed for text not photos. Academic blogs should surely consider it.