Are photons present in darkness?
What is darkness? A lack of visible light? That's how most people understand it. If that's the case then your answer is yes. There are photons which our eyes don't detect. We can see this in action using an infrared camera. But darkness is not the lack of visible light.
Mohamed touches on it briefly, but his explanation will only make sense to those already familiar with the subject. I will try to explain it using an analogy most people understand. Television.
For us to watch something on tv there are many things that have to happen leading up to. The bit which concerns us is when the signal gets broadcast. A satellite broadcasts a radiowave which our dish detects. The dish converts this radiowave into an electrical signal which travels to our tv. The tv interprets this signal and creates the images we see on our tv. Light (brightness) and darkness exist on the screen of your tv.
Surprisingly to many, human vision works exactly the same. But every object in the universe broadcasts it's own signal in the form of light (electromagnetic radiation) which is broken into packages called photons. Some photons we detect and those result in us seeing the object broadcasting/emitting it. Our eyes act like 2 satellite dishes, detecting these photons and converting them to electrochemical impulses which are sent to the brain. The brain interprets these signals and in the optic region it creates images. It combines the impulses from both eyes and creates a 3 dimensional visual representation of reality. The reality we see. We call this internal perception qualia.
Light (brightness), darkness and colors only exist in this perceived reality, while photons (electromagnetic radiation) exists in actual reality or should I say, outside our heads. One is a sensation and the other is physical. They are from two different worlds. Are photons present in darkness is like asking what numbers smell like.