A beloved member of the Durham Lords and a new inductee into the DC Sports Hall of Fame is the man who has documented it all for almost 38 years: Al Fournier.
Fournier can be found on the sidelines of almost every Ontario Tech and Durham College varsity sports game taking action photos and sharing them with enthusiastic players.
“It took me by surprise,” he said. “It’s just great to be recognized for 30 years of work.”
Fournier was inducted alongside former men’s basketball star Anthony Batchelor, longtime men’s baseball head coach Sam Dempster, his son Colin, who was an assistant coach for years, and record-breaking women’s softball pitcher Julie Pickell.
Fournier has been with Durham College since January 1985. He started in the media department, where he took staff photos and team photos. In 1993, he became the varsity sports photographer for the college and has been in the position ever since.
He also started and coordinated the Photography program and taught many student journalists at the Chronicle. He retired in 2019 but continues to teach part-time in the Photography program today.
Although he doesn’t have a favourite moment, he says his best memories are working with countless athletes to get the best shot.
“I think it basically just being involved with the athletes, and when they know my name, and I know theirs,” he said. “It’s easier for them, and then they want their picture taken, especially the women’s softball team.
“Maybe they’ll smile, and pose it up and take pictures, and it’s just been enjoyable. I wouldn’t be doing it now if I didn’t like it.”
Although he’s photographed every athlete for the last thirty years, he mentioned one athlete in particular that stand out to him, fellow 2023 inductee Anthony Batchelor.
“He broke a lot of records, so it was good to be there for those moments,” Fournier said.
He joined Ontario Tech when it opened in 2002, after being offered the job by athletic coordinator Ken Babcock.
“He just asked me if I want to continue to take pictures for both, and what I did is got myself a good pair of running shoes, so I could cover both and run from one field to another,” he said with a laugh.
Zach Ellis, sports information and marketing coordinator for the Lords, is appreciative of Fournier.
“It’s huge,” said Ellis. “He’s been taking photographs of our games longer than I’ve been alive.”
He said when they were creating the DC Sports Hall of Fame slideshow, it turned out Fournier had taken most of the photos.
“It’s pretty special because he took all of those as well,” Ellis said.
Fournier started taking photos for his Grade 8 newspaper. Today, he continues to run his own photo media company, Lights Camera Media.
Under this brand, he’s covered musicians such as Mammoth WVH, Chicago, Nelly, and his all-time favourite, KISS.
He became a fan of KISS at 13 and has been loyal ever since. He even showed up to this interview sporting a Kiss T-shirt.
“I was able to photograph them a couple of times, and as their group is finally ending things. See? I came prepared!” he said, showing off his shirt.
“And I also have a T-shirt at home from the 10th Anniversary tour. So, that thing now is probably 40 years old.”
He said hiss almost 40-year career has been a dream and it is great to get recognized for all of the work he has put into the school.
“It’s just been a joy working with everybody, especially the athletes,” he said. “They’ve all been helpful, it’s been a great ride, and it’ll still continue for a little bit.”
The DC Sports Hall of Fame ceremony was supposed to take place on Nov. 17. However, due to the death of 2200 North chef Mike Greene the event has been postponed, according to Scott Dennis, director of Athletics and Recreation at Durham College.