TODAY   |  September 22, 2012

Hunt is on for topless duchess photographer

Attention has changed from Duchess Kate’s topless photos to the man behind the lens. The world is looking for the paparazzo responsible for the shots of a private moment made very public. NBC’s Duncan Golestani reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now to more controversy over those topless photos of the duchess of cambridge. the focus has switched from the photos to the photographer who snapped them. here's duncan golestani.

>> reporter: the duke and duchess have remained out of sight since the end of their nine-day tour to the south pacific . also nowhere to be found today, the paparazzo who shot topless photos of kate at this private chateau. even the british tabloids have joined in the hunt for the man being called le rat, but now a famous french photographer says the paparazzo responsible is irish but won't reveal his identity.

>> he was not waiting to make topless pictures. he cannot imagine when he went to this place that one day the princess going to be topless.

>> reporter: during their tour, they did not speak publicly about the controversy. that does not stop celebrities from coming to their defense. john travolta told the bbc it's the worst time to be famous.

>> there is a right to privacy whether you're famous or not famous. and i feel that anyone being invaded at that level is unfortunate and there should be a law. no one would like that.

>> reporter: kate and william did win a legal victory in france. a paris court banning future publication of those scandalous photos and ordering "closer" magazine to hand over the originals. but it wasn't enough to stop the photos being printed elsewhere in europe.

>> we made the judgment call like we do with every other celebrity news. do we want to publish it? is it newsworthy or not? and we thought so. so we published it.

>> reporter: a private moment made very public as the search for the elusive photographer who exposed kate to the world goes on. for "today," dunn began golestani, nbc news, london.