Paula McCartney makes photographs and artists' books that explore the idea of constructed landscapes and the way people interact with and manipulate the natural world.
She has received grants from the Aaron Siskind Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Her work has been exhibited across the United States and is included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Museum of Modern Art.
McCartney's first monograph, titled Bird Watching, was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2010. In 2014, Silas Finch published her second monograph, titled A Field Guide to Snow and Ice.