This essay is prompted by some photographs that have haunted me ever since I first saw them, on a train leaving London on 8 July 2005. They were in the Evening Standard newspaper, the day after four bombs exploded on London's public transport system, and they showed the faces of some of the people missing on that day. The same photographs, or photographs very like them, of those people and other people, were published in almost every national newspaper, in one form or another, in the days and weeks that followed the attacks. The faces - pictured on holiday, at graduations, at parties, even the driving licence mugshots - were so vividly alive that they continued to exert a presence even after I knew that almost all of the people pictured had died brutal deaths in a train carriage or a bus that July
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