Sniper Fire

A target from another time
A target from another time

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The driving range was in Lanesborough, Massachusetts, but the photo was taken in 1980, so really it could have been on any range in the country. Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini was holding 52 American hostages in Tehran, which qualified him as the nation’s most hated villain (rivaled only by Darth Vader, whose light-sabering of Luke Skywalker’s hand that summer in The Empire Strikes Back was viewed by a legion of horrified corduroy-wearing kids as potentially worse).

The photo was taken by Sylvia Plachy, an award-winning documentary photographer known for her work in The Village Voice and The New Yorker, among many others. “We took a ride in the evening with my husband and 7-year-old son and I saw this scene: the Ayatollah and golf balls like stars in the night sparkling all around him,” she says. And then, a baddie twist George Lucas would have loved: “It was surreal as the car’s beam hit it. I stopped and took a few frames, but only this one came out. The next day I wanted to see it again, but in the daylight it was only a driving range.”

Fun fact: That 7-year-old in the car would eventually find himself on the silver screen. Academy Award winner Adrien Brody hasn’t yet played a villain so heinous as the Ayatollah or a Sith Lord, but he has been known to peg it in a celebrity pro-am.