Imagine Exhibitions has brought National Geographic’s “Rarely Seen” exhibition to Bally’s Las Vegas (soon to be Horseshoe Las Vegas this fall). “This place has been many years in the making. We started Real Bodies six years ago here,” Tom Zaller, President and CEO of Imagine Exhibitions, told the press at the opening. “We were just about to open this thing up, and then there was a small virus that happened. It’s really nice to be here and see people outside again. It feels like the city is coming back.”
“We’re so excited to add these amazing exhibits that we’ve always seen from Tom and Imagine Exhibitions and especially with National Geographic’s “Rarely Seen,” Jason Gregoric, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Bally’s Las Vegas, commented. “It will transport our patrons to once in a lifetime experiences, and we’re very, very excited for that.”
We got a sneak peek of the exhibit during a press preview, and we later talked with Tom Zaller about the exhibition, how it came to Las Vegas and what Imagine Exhibitions has planned for the future. Tickets for “Rarely Seen” can be purchased online here.
Inside “Rarely Seen” at Bally’s Las Vegas
WT: What brought “Rarely Seen” to Bally’s Las Vegas?
Zaller: Imagine Exhibitions is an international company that delivers a variety of impactful, narrative-driven exhibitions. This is our latest exhibition we’ve launched and the second that we’ve brought to Bally’s, as we’re also the team behind REAL BODIES at Bally’s. It just seemed like the perfect fit to bring it to Vegas and to Bally’s. It’s the ideal attraction for anyone that loves photography and traveling, and this exhibition takes you to the people and places around the world. We have this amazing new exhibition space here at Bally’s, and this just seemed like the perfect fit to present it here.
WT: Is there a story behind the exhibit or the order in which the pieces are presented?
Zaller: We’re aiming to bring you these incredible photographs by National Geographic and bring them to you as you wouldn’t traditionally see them. At Rarely Seen the exhibition, the photographs are not just photographs as you would normally see them. We showcase the photographs, so you’re on a journey, from Landscapes to Moments, then Textures. So what we did here is bring you these photographs in an immersive way. First of all, you always see the photograph as it was intended by the photographer – we don’t change the color, we never manipulate it; you just might see it on a 10-foot tall, or in a little room surrounded by flowers or in a room with similar attributes to the photograph itself. Our goal is to bring you into the photo itself or into the photographer’s lens as they’re shooting, and I think people will love it.
WT: Can you tell us about the selection of the images that were included in this exhibit?
Zaller: National Geographic represents a lot of things to a lot of people – it’s that expectation of quality encapsulated in that yellow square that is synonymous with National Geographic. Rarely Seen, the exhibition is primarily a photography exhibition inspired by the book “NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC RARELY SEEN: Photographs of the Extraordinary.” There are 50 of some of the most striking images shot by some of the world’s finest National Geographic photographers, and we have taken these incredible photos and placed them in the exhibition, so you have People, Places and Moments to really be a part of the experience and photo itself.
WT: What pieces are your personal favorites?
Zaller: I am a photography and travel buff, so it’s hard to pinpoint, but if I had to pick, it’s this photograph titled
“Festival of Lights” by Nanut Bovorn from Thailand. They’re these paper lanterns taking off into the sky. So we took that gallery and blew it up and then have video of the lanterns being launched and then mirrors on the other side, plus actual lanterns hanging above you – so you feel like you’re in that space itself. We created it, so it’s true to the photograph – you’re within the environment but can also take a great photo yourself and just relax and have a great time.
WT: What can we expect from Imagine Exhibitions in Las Vegas in the future?
Zaller: So much! We have more plans for Vegas in the near future – including here at Bally’s, where we are getting ready to open some new concepts -- The Cabinet of Curiosities and The Lock. These two concepts are a curated collection designed to spark curiosity and bring exceptional libations of yesteryear and just further transport our guests even further into the worlds we’ve created. We’re anticipating a summer launch and are so excited for these two projects.
There’s also more coming down the pipeline, and we are always so appreciative of our concierge and their support!