A mother stands in front of my camera. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do,” she says anxiously, so she smiles stiffly, as you might in a school picture. “Just be yourself,” I encourage. When she leaves my makeshift studio, set up at the Prudential Center in Boston for the occasion, I feel I’ve failed. The images reveal nothing about how she was feeling. Instead, I’ve taken a smiling portrait of a woman with no indication that she was about to undergo a serious, emotional transformation.