The Tab x Humans of Cambridge: Capturing the character of Cambridge students

Looking for proof that Cambridge students are amazingly stylish, colourful and unique? Look no further…

If you have an Instagram account you have probably come to hear of Mark Box, the man behind the photography project ‘Humans of Cambridge.’ Rising in popularity amongst students, the Instagram account highlights the vibrancy and diversity of the people of Cambridge.

The skill of Mark’s photography is in capturing that little glimpse of personality. His approach of catching people in natural moments can make you feel as if you know them, or at least that you want to know them! As a recent commenter expressed upon seeing a particularly well-dressed human: “She’s so cool, I want to be her friend!!!”

Our thinking at the Cambridge Tab was to take this one step further, using one or two short questions to get a snapshot of these people’s lives or identities. Mark chose the people (he must have a RADAR for it at this point) and we followed with our questions.

Not only did running around after Mark for two days get our cardio quota in, but we also got to meet some wonderfully vibrant and unique individuals; who shared in having the most enviable wardrobes.

Without further ado, meet some very well dressed students (+ bonus alumni and fellow) of King’s Parade:

Sumei and Emma – French and Spanish at Trinity

The most stylish pair on King’s Parade, Sumei on the left and Emma on the right (Image: Mark Box @humanofcambridge)


What do you love most about your outfit?

“I like…probably this blue necklace”

Favourite place in Cambridge?

Coe Fen because it is slightly more peaceful, there are not so many tourists there and it’s lovely and green”


What do you love most about your outfit?

“It’s gotta be the boots, I love these boots”

Where did you get that gorgeous purse?

I think I just found it on eBay!”

Favourite memory from this year?

“Any time I’ve spent with a big group of friends, that’s been really valuable time especially this year when you haven’t been able to be together a lot.”

Tigerlily – Education at Queens’

Perhaps the most fashionable graduand ever? (Image: Mark Box @humanofcambridge)

How does it feel to be graduating?

“I’m so happy that we actually got to do something, I thought it would be way more disrupted than it has been! It’s been so nice and it’s made me think of matriculating, taking all the same pictures with all the same people, it’s been so nice, and the sun has been shining which is a plus.”

Favourite memory from your time at Cambridge?

“I can only think of one recent one on the spot! So my favourite memory was the last Footlights smoker, it made me really emotional because that’s how I met most of my closest friends and we all got to do one last show together.”

Tell us about this amazing outfit!

“My sister has a shop where she sells vintage clothes and I asked her if she had any black suits and she said she had just the thing! I went to my Grandma’s yesterday and she gave me the shirt because I was a shirt down, the shoes I got on eBay years ago but they’re Jeffrey Campbell, I got this pearl ring in a charity shop yesterday.

And what’s on your nails?

“It says class of 2021” (Such a cute idea that we will definitely be stealing for our graduation)

Alex – English at Jesus

Alex’s brilliant trousers are from Nomads on King’s Parade (Image: Mark Box @humanofcambridge)

Most importantly, what ice cream flavour is that?

“It’s chelsea bun flavour from Fitzbillies, I came out and saw it was warm and promised myself I’d go and try this before I go.”

Favourite place in Cambridge?

“I love Nomads but I also love the Museum of Cambridge, the odd folk museum by Kettle’s Yard, I would say that is the one.”

What do you love most about this outfit?

“I really love these shoelaces, they’re from a really cool shop called the Pin Pricks, they’re bi pride colours and they’re quite subtle, so only people who know spot them.”

Molly – HSPS at Fitzwilliam

Hit up the V&A if you’re on the hunt for a knuckleduster! (Image: Mark Box @humanofcambridge)

Favourite memory of this year?

“I lived on Mill Road so I loved getting to know that area…even with an ant-infested house”

Favourite place in Cambridge?

“Al-Amin, a spice shop on Mill Road”

What do you love most about this outfit?

“Probably this ring (from the V&A) because I could knock someone out with it.”

Jasmine and Anya – Engineering at Selwyn and Biochem at Murray Edwards

We all need the kind of friend that would join us in a morph suit escapade (Jasmine left and Anya right) (Image: Mark Box @humanofcambridge)

The most important question has to be, why the morph suits?

Jasmine: “It was a spontaneous decision, I just messaged her saying I’m going to wear my morph suit today feel free to join.”

Anya: I wore a morph suit for C Sunday a few years ago and have worn it for a few parties since and it just felt like the end of an era.”

How’re you feeling about graduating?

Anya: “Excited, it’s been so nice seeing everyone graduating today”

Jasmine: “Yeh I think we’ve been photobombing everyone’s photos”

Favourite memory of this year?

Anya: “Living in my college house has been really nice and we bought a paddling pool which was great”

Jasmine: “Swimming in the River Cam” (Which is sadly no longer allowed – read more here)

Yfke – (Alumni) Classics at Girton

Despite no longer being a student at Cambridge, we couldn’t resist featuring Yfke and her gorgeous outfit. (Image: Mark Box @humanofcambridge)

What do you love most about this outfit?

“Oh the blazer, has to be the blazer”

Favourite place in Cambridge?

“Clare Bridge, it is such a stunning place to look over the river, and I was interviewed at Clare so it was my first experience of Cambridge”

What brings you back to Cambridge today?

“I’m actually doing a masters at Durham, but because of the pandemic I never went there so I actually never left Cambridge!”

Alias – Architecture at Sidney Sussex

The balloon was an easy way for Alias to stand out to Mark on the packed King’s Parade  (Image: Mark Box @humanofcambridge)

How does it feel to be graduating?

“It feels amazing, having the family around, I’m so glad we actually had some sort of service. A lot of my friends are graduating in their living rooms which is really sad, so it’s just really beautiful to be able to do this.”

Favourite memory from your time at Cambridge?

“I’d probably say my first May Ball at Jesus, that was a really fun night, I enjoyed that.” (Just rubbing it in for all of us who still haven’t been able to attend one)

Eimear – Philosophy at Corpus Christi

It was Eimear’s picture that inspired someone to comment “She’s so cool, I want to be her friend!!!” (Image: Mark Box @humanofcambridge)

Favourite place in Cambridge?

“I went to the top of John’s chapel recently, and you can see all of Cambridge from up there and it looks tiny, but it feels so big when you’re down there so it’s pretty cool”

What do you love most about this outfit?

“I really like my socks!”

Niamh – Fellow at Lucy Cavendish

Niamh featured in a Tab article when she was a student here back in 2014! She’s also regularly photographed by Mark in her amazing outfits (Image: Mark Box @humanofcambridge)

What’s your specialism?

“I work over at CRASH the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Science and Humanities, so it’s an interdisciplinary research role.”

Favourite place in Cambridge?

“Stereotypically I guess my favourite place is probably King’s Chapel, King’s is where I did my PhD in sociology and so I spent a lot of time there, it’s a very restful and lovely place.”

What do you love most about this outfit?

“I really like the shoes, they’re really comfortable, a solid wedge which is so nice. But the print on this dress is also gorgeous, I think there’s not one singular answer, unfortunately.”

Saffy – Earth Sciences at Kings

Saffy was by far the most wonderfully colourful person on Kings Parade (Image: Mark Box @humanofcambridge)

Favourite place in Cambridge?

“Oh that’s hard! Probably sitting along the banks looking towards the Chapel, before I came to Cambridge I came punting here and I saw students working along the banks, and I was like one day that’s gonna be be, so I like going to sit there and knowing I made it!”

What inspired the rainbow hair?

“I don’t know, I thought before I have to get a real job, I’ll look insane for a few years and make the most of it, so I’ll go as colourful as possible.”

How much time does it take to upkeep?

“So much time! To do the whole thing, because I do it myself it takes about six hours. It depends how often I can be bothered but I’ll usually re-dye it once every five to six weeks.”

Annie – ASNAC at Newnham

The most amazing and sparkly sunglasses I’ve ever seen (Image: Mark Box @humanofcambridge)

How does it feel to be graduating?

“Kind of incredible because I intermitted a while ago, I had a rough start and then to be graduating is like wow I actually did that! I got the email about my grades and I was just kind of in shock so it feels really good.”

Favourite memory from your time at Cambridge?

“To be honest I think my favourite memory was in my first term, I didn’t really know anyone, and then I just got this message from a couple of people on my course saying they just hanging out in a friends room and then my friend calls me and goes ‘Annie you’re my favourite lesbian please come drink with us!’ I just thought aw this is so nice and that was when I felt like ahh I’m in Cambridge I have friends, this is so nice.”

Where did you get your sunglasses from?

“They’re from Amazon! I got them because I saw the drag queen Trixie Mattel live and she was wearing them and I was like, I have to own those glasses.”

Thank you so much to Mark for letting us tag along last week, and to those mentioned above who let us stop you for a chat. It was amazing to briefly get to know such a range of people.

If you were ever in doubt about the originality or vibrancy of Cambridge students, look no further than @humanofcambridge where you can scroll through almost 1000 snapshots of ‘complete diversity in humans.’ 

Don’t forget to hang around King’s Parade from 1-2pm on a weekday for a chance to be pictured by Mark, you can also contact him on Instagram, his websiteTwitter and Facebook. You can also find some of his images in upcoming physical issues of the Cambridge Edition – you might spot yourself!

Related articles recommended by this author:

• “Complete diversity in humans’: We spoke to ‘Humans of Cambridge’ photographer Mark Box

Creative Spotlight: Hassan Raja on photographing the small, everyday moments

• Friends, food, and falling in: The Tab’s ultimate guide to punting in Cambridge 

Feature image: Mark Box @humanofcambridge