I don’t want to dismiss the obvious practical utility of photons as a model. But setting aside the wave nature of light (since it is complementary anyway), why do we need the intermediary, “photons” to explain the particle aspects of light? SR says photons don’t age because they travel at c (the limit of time dilation). But in frame c, a photon sees its path length as zero (the limit of length contraction). Equating “zero path length” to “contact” would seem sufficient to explain all of light’s particle behavior (photoelectric effect, Compton effect, even virtual photon “exchanges”) without invoking massless energy bundles.