Easiest method to view most types of images on a Mac:
click once on the file, so it is selected.
Press the space bar, which displays the image.
The image is not using any app, just the system. That's called QuickView.
Press space a second time to close the image.
What happens if you drag and drop that file on the Preview app icon?
Right click on your image file, choose your app from the "Open with" menu.
That will launch the app that you choose and, if you choose Preview, Preview should launch. It shouldn't do "nothing", but might not open a window with the image. But, Preview SHOULD launch (you will see that the Preview icon has the little indicator that shows that app is open, and you SHOULD see the Preview menus are at the top of the screen (meaning that the app is active)
You won't get much to happen if you only drag the image file to the app icon. You also have to release it (drag and drop, correct?)
If you use the QuickView, pressing space should show the file, then pressing a second time simply closes the image.
Nothing else should happen.
It's really only for viewing files. You can't edit an image, or do much of anything else.