imagining reality

i shouldn't have been surprised, but i was. most of my recent work has been monochromatic, which is why i was caught off-guard. a friend was visiting, and commented how much she appreciated some color work on the wall. then she sheepishly asked, "is it real? i mean, the color." a couple things. nobody ever asks me if any of my black and white images are "real", which is perhaps why i was caught off guard. i guess the "reality comparison gene" doesn't kick in unless there's color...and i'm always fascinated by this question, as it starts me thinking more deeply about how we perceive reality. and then, of course, i start noticing... shortly after, JPC reminded us that "color is an event"; that color doesn't exist "out there" - it exists within us as we observe and perceive objects and light. then i came across a recent article in Tricycle magazine talked about our mental conscious-ness, and how our thoughts cannot perceive anything directly (only our senses do) - they "only impute generalities and unclear abstractions", but our thoughts create our reality. hmmm. the upshot? what we think of as "reality" is just a facet of our imagination. nice. does this mean that the color you see in a photograph says much more about your own mind than, say, mine? is it up to your own imagination to decide if it's "real"?