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<i>Speaking From The Heart</i>

Couples. How do we explain the mystery of two people choosing to live their lives together? CBS News Sunday Morning Anchor Charles Osgood examines the question through a visit to photographer Mariana Cook, who explores the bonds that couples share in her latest exhibit and book of photography titled Couples: Speaking From The Heart.

How are couples different from other relationships?

"In the first place," says Cook, "they choose each other. It's not a given. And I also think they have a harder time expressing their feelings for each other in public."

To get at the essence of a couple's relationship, Cook strips everything away. There is no special makeup, no assistant, no lights.

She explains, "When two people are each very much themselves and at ease in their own skin and somehow connected to each other, that's the moment I choose."

Among the moments she has captured are special ones between Fed chairman Alan Greenspan and his wife, newswoman Andrea Mitchell; George Plimpton and his wife; and newsman Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes with his wife, Mary.

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What is this mysterious thing we call a couple? How do we explain it? Even Cook herself says she loves making portraits because "they raise as many questions as they answer."

She also says that the best word to describe what holds a couple together is family, whether old or young, with children or not. It is a family bond that couples choose to create.

"That's what couples are, in the end. They're a family," Cook concludes. "What gets them together may be erotic and exciting. But, in the end, if they stick it out, they're a family."

Mariana Cook's exhibit may be viewed through Feb. 17 at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 1018 Madison Avenue (between 78th and 79th Streets), New York, N.Y. 10021. Phone number: (212) 744-7400

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