For some people, the desert represents death, nothingness. There is the obvious scarcity of water and shade; the extreme temperatures repel life; there is a sore lack of resources for humans to survive. At the same time, there is a long tradition of the desert as a place of healing. Deserts have served as places to restore one's wholeness, both physically and spiritually. Whether for 40 years or just a few nights, the barren nothingness has a way of yielding plenty.

With the Californian desert as background, "Happy Nothing" is a personal journey that delves into the lives of its inhabitants and its secrets. In these wind-swept lands, ex-convicts, war veterans and retirees congregate. These are people who, for various reasons, have decided to stay outside of society. In their "towns," you will find no running water. Their houses lie largely in ruins. Their streets are unpaved and without lighting. There are no cinemas in sight, let alone a simple supermarket.

Despite living in these conditions, the subjects of my photographs were quick to call it "Paradise."

—Yurian Quintanas Nobel