Even with their eerily bleak composition, fragments of modern machines embedded in a vertical cliff wall, the photographs taken after the Superjet accident do not carry half the impact of those taken before.
Pictures of glamorous young cabin attendants, a confident crew and cheerful delegates coldly closed the distance that normally separates images of wreckage from an observer's sense of reality, and laced the media coverage with a bitter sprinkling of poignancy in a way that a passenger manifest could never have. Walls of rock do not discriminate by passengers' youth.
Pre-empting any accident inquiry means running the risk of appearing arrogant, at best, and downright foolish at worst. But as the crash probe enters the analysis phase, there is no denying that sudden technical failure during low-level flight near a mountain would turn out to be a remarkable coincidence.
And if this latest unhappy encounter between granite and aluminium turns out to be a failure of man, rather than machine, then the non-routine nature of the flight will prove impossible to ignore.
Demonstration flights are not inherently unsafe but they have an ad hoc quality and carry a sense of occasion. Their purpose is to distinguish, and that doesn't mean acrobatics; it can be achieved simply by allowing guests the rare opportunity to visit the cockpit in flight.
Successful demonstrations mean balancing non-standard operating conditions and an informal atmosphere against the strict discipline required for safe flight. Part of the inquiry's unenviable task will be to establish whether that delicate balance was maintained in this case.
The accident, ironically, has generated more publicity about the Superjet than the promotional Asian tour in which the ill-fated aircraft was participating - the first half of which passed largely unnoticed outside of the countries involved - as well as the predictable ill-informed claptrap about the safety of Russian aircraft and the prospects for Superjet sales.
But it has also brought home the human element, through not only the pictures of those involved, but also the testimonies of those who took them, and who, by opting against joining the Superjet on its final departure, escaped sharing the same fate by nothing more than a thought impulse.
All of which makes this particular loss seem somehow even more personal, more unfair and, perhaps, more unnecessary.
(This article first appeared as the lead comment in Flight International 22 May)