George O. Jackson Jr. (born October 2, 1941 in Houston, Texas), is a photographer who documented the seasonal religious festivals of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. The photography project, called The Essence of Mexico, was conducted from 1990 through 2001 and resulted in more than 75,000 color images of the traditional rites and ceremonies of more than 60 different indigenous cultural groups. The original images now belong to the University of Texas in Austin, where they are part of the Benson Collection of Latin American Art. The collection is shared with the San Antonio Museum of Art’s Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art in San Antonio, Texas.
Jackson is the eldest son of the late George O. Jackson Sr., an insurance executive, and Dolores María de Llano Villarreal. He frequently uses his maternal family name in his professional work, exhibiting under the name George O. Jackson de Llano. His mother’s family came from the state of Nuevo León in northern Mexico, where his maternal great-grandfather, Rubén Villarreal, owned silver mines. In around 1910, at the start of the Mexican Revolution, Villareal moved his family from Lampazos de Naranjo in Nuevo León to the border city of Laredo, Texas, where Jackson grew up. His mother’s father was a descendant of Manuel María de Llano, who served as mayor of Monterrey and twice as governor of Nuevo León during the 19th century. Jackson’s great uncle, Rodrigo de Llano, was the publisher of Excélsior, a major newspaper in Mexico City, from 1924 until his death in 1963.