In addition to showcasing her artistic eye, photographer Lora Mercado's "Emotions" exhibit also can serve as a unique look at some of the region's architectural landmarks.

"All of the pictures are pretty much from places from around this area, such as the Veterans Memorial in Munster and the Shrine of Christ's Passion in St. John," She said.

"Maybe this will make them want to go visit those places and maybe they'll feel the same way that I did when I was there."

Running through May 12 at South Shore Arts' Substation No. 9 in Hammond, Mercado was reared in Dyer and resides in Schererville. A painter as well as a photographer, Mercado's work has been shown locally at galleries such as Whiting's Studio 659, Chesterton Art Center and Michigan City's Lubeznik Center for the Arts.

Last year, Mercado was awarded second place in a juried exhibition in Indianapolis' annual Crown Hill Cemetery Photo Contest, and next year, her works are slated to be included in the tome "Wildlife Art Today" by renowned East Coast artist and author Cindy Ann Coldiron.

Mercado is a member of several area art organizations, including South Shore Arts and Indiana Wildlife Artists. Additionally, Mercado started the Northern Indiana Artist Support Group in February, which helps area artists get their work to the masses, and the Artist Awareness Project, whose namesake website showcases works by area artists.

"I saw that there are a lot of artists out there that really are into their craft but really don't expose themselves or put themselves out there for different exhibits, and I don't think people are aware of all the different resources that are available," She said of her support group. "I wanted to get artists together to work and network and help each other."

Consisting of 22 photographs shot over the course of the last two years, "Emotions" includes photos of area barns, nature scenes and cemeteries.

"I just like to capture a view of objects that's different from what the ordinary eye would see," she said of her photos. "I like to capture it at an angle that makes it interesting. Even if the subject is not an interesting subject, I try and make it look interesting in the picture."