@ejm46 Appreciate the frustration, are photos definitely not located somewhere in My Files? I think it it is best to have a few back ups, whether that be another cloud service or/and local storage to increase protection.
I do not work for Samsung or make Samsung Products but provide independent advice and valuable contributions.
My Device- S21 Ultra 5G ( SM-998B/DS ) CSC= BTU , 12GB/256GB
One Ui 5.0,Android 13 .