Established in 2013, this critically acclaimed international conference series of scholars, artists and activists inspired and has supported the SHINE Portrait Studio project. If you’re part of the Black Portraiture[s] conversation, and happen to be in or coming through the region, please make SHINE @ Express Newark a destination, we’d love to make your complimentary portrait.

Courtney R. Baker, Ph.D.,
Author, Educator, Critic

Associate Professor | Department of English
University of California, Riverside
College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

“It is so exciting and humbling to be in this process. The portrait session was a magical experience of seeing myself in ways I never had. It was very powerful to learn through feeling how I inhabit the world as a visual subject.”

Our inaugural collaboration on this series of photographs started with Courtney on June 16, 2021. Thank you to Cheryl Finely and Deborah Willis for recommending that Courtney contact us while visiting with her family in NJ! As it happened Courtney was also doing a writers retreat at Eaton’s Nook, here in Newark. We initially met on zoom with Courtney to discuss ideas for the session, so she arrived with several wardrobes, and carefully selected jewelry. We had fun for about 4 hours finding the right music for relaxing, posing, choosing backgrounds, lighting, and also talking about history, theory and the lack of diverse faculty in higher education. We are so grateful to have had the time with Courtney and look forward to her return to SHINE so we can make more portraits and keep the visual conversation going!


© Shine Portrait Studio (Anthony Alvarez/Nick Kline)