I am the author of the Portfolio theme linked to earlier in this thread. As you can see, a WordPress site does not have to look like a blog!
I also released the slideshow functionality that powers that theme as a free plugin, which you can find elsewhere on the site. I've seen some great uses of this code, such as here: http://www.tracybishop.com/. Tracy used a theme called Headway, along with my plugin, to make a pretty amazing portfolio.
I have set up a few dozen photographers on WP now, and so far everyone has loved it. Best of luck!